Thursday, 6 January 2011

Groundhog Day

It's like groundhog day around here. The film, not the event.

The Central Bank has extended the deadline indefinitely for the implementation of the new Image Cheque Clearing System (ICCS), following problems implementing the system on January 1st 2011.

Meanwhile in unrelated news, the collective fat-headed nincompoopery that is my bank, HSBC, has once again seen fit to dishonour my rent cheque to my landlord. Which is precisely what they did in January last year.

On January 6th last year, I posted about both of these events. It's linked here. I pointed out the many problems people would face trying to present old cheques that lacked the security features mandated by the UAE Central Bank's implementation of the new automated cheque clearing system. I also pointed out what a communications disaster the whole thing had been. Of course there was little attempt to communicate the whole thing clearly and effectively and so, precisely a year later, the system has been once again delayed, withdrawn temporarily as everyone tries to work out how to go about honouring old cheques past the deadline set for them to be honoured.

The ICCS was first started as  project in 2005. Now, five years later, it still hasn't been implemented. Last year's confusion led to more delays and a new deadline (the original 'new cheques only' deadline was 1/1/2010) which has now been extended once again purely because nobody invested in effective communications.

Meanwhile, HSBC is saying, as it did last year, that my cheque has been dishonoured because of my signature. Last year I went to see the morons and we sat together and agreed that their scanner had squashed my signature, which is naturally some 5cm high. We rescanned my signature (I had, first, to try and copy the squashed signature, my 'old' signature before they'd scan my 'new' signature. Honest.) and then their scanner squashed my signature to look like the 'old' signature. In order to do this, of course, they required my passport copy - and wouldn't accept my National ID Card as proof of ID.

My signature is,  believe me, highly distinctive. I have been paying rent to my landlord for some ten years now. I write only two cheques every year - one to him, one to the post office. You'd have thought my bank could check the history or even telephone me before deciding to dishonour my cheque for tens of thousands of dirhams (obviously it would be an important transaction to me), but you'd think wrong. You'd assume some level of applied intelligence, care or (gasp!) initiative. And they are all sorely lacking. My bank has managed to make a mess of absolutely every aspect of banking, from issuing cards to making transfers, from providing a reliable, sensible and usable telephone and Internet banking service to honouring cheques. I am left dumbfounded as to how the hell they make money, but can only assume that totally ignoring the needs of your customers is the key to success.

You may want to suggest I find another bank. I am open to suggestions.

12 comments:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

I was so looking forward to reading at 0818hrs, when headline posted!

You correct yours, but HSBC are a "body corporate" so responsibility lies with many for their actions, unlike you.

Please just change bank. :-(

Sarah Walton said...

You have to respect Andy McDowell (hsbc) for the woman she is, and make her (the hsbc computer) fall in love with you. Only then will you wake up to a new spring....

Grumpy Goat said...

I recommend
Sock Under The Mattress Bank

No problems with cheques, no fees, and the interest rate on savings is almost as high as the major players in the banking sector.

Doug said...

"they...wouldn't accept my National ID Card as proof of ID."

I don't know what's worse, the fact that this seems totally insane, or the fact that this would be no surprise whatsoever to anyone who's lived in Dubai for more than two weeks.

Mich said...

My dream is a world without banks! And when I win the lottery (inshAllah, brings out the rabbit tail, does a little dance)... I shall use "Sock Under The Mattress Bank," as Grumpy Goat has suggested! hehehe

Gerry said...

hsbc is staggeringly bad and there is literally no recourse for being so incompetent. unfortunately, there aren't very many better options either.

literally everyone I know has been screwed over or massively inconvenienced by hsbc at some point. when something goes right it is worthy of note.

Dave said...

What amazes me is that HSBS here in Dubai can be so useless and HSBC in Oz are pretty good. How can two banks under the same brand be so completely different. Is HSBC in the UAE just some type of mismanaged franchisee, or just a weird prank set up by HSBC Global.....

I too regret the day that I opened a HSBC account in Dubai. They have been no end of trouble to me.

HSBC have "lost" transferred funds for upto 32 days, they have charged me late fees when they miss the standard transfer to my loan account, they have held money for upto 9 days when I have used their online bill payment service and their CS Centre was (maybe still is) 100% outsourced and could solve 0% of enquiries at the first phone call....... all in all they are a disgrace as a financial service institution.....

Anonymous said...

That is why you should bank with Union National Bank. they are cool about stuf like that. And possibly the best bank in the UAE.

I bin banking with them since 2007 and they are just like a sweet woman that don't ask much.

binmugahid said...

Hey Alex... it was meeeeeeeeeee.
clever way to get you the comment that you wont display but still get you my message. Go for UNB. they are absolutely great.

Luke said...

The whole cheque thing always amazed me during my time in Dubai. I assume the situation has only arisen due to a lack of trust between the 2 parties signing the contract (landlord & tenant). The logical conclusion though is any contract is not worth the paper it is written on. It is as if the landlord is saying "You can only rent this property if you make yourself criminally liable for non-payment of rent".

Surely, in your case, after ten years, a simple electronic transfer would be more suitable. Or even a monthly standing order?

the real nick said...

I never have experienced better service than I got at 'Bank of Sharjah' Garhoud branch in the late 90s. It felt like being a customer at Coutts, strolling into the branch straight into your advisor's office and sitting down for tea. You should check if Manal is still there. A friendly and personable bunch of Lebanese. They even have an ATM!

Susan said...

Nick, the fact you have to go back to the '90s to remember good service from banks kinda says it all!