We had an interesting conversation with our bank manager the other day.
"We have come to close our account. Here is the number."
Bemused look. "Why do you want to close your account?"
"Because you keep charging us."
"But we keep your money safe." he said, a hint of uncertainly creeping onto his voice.
"No you don't. It keeps disappearing."
At this point we told him how unhappy we were because, having instructed the bank to transfer some funds from our account in Kigali to that other august institution, the RBS, the bank had done nothing. He looked at us in disbelief.
"But you can open a deposit account" says he, quickly trying to move the conversation on. "After a year, we pay you interest."
We smiled politely, but at this point, interest is just what we lost and decided this was a good time to take our farewells. We left the office with our banker friend looking quite unhappy that customers should be less than enchanted about the service.
We are learning that it isn't just our own Banque de Kigali that has a habit of ignoring instructions to transfer money to other banks. The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB to its friends) was given an instruction this week to transfer some money, as it happens, to Banque de Kigali. On Friday, when the funds hadn't arrived at the other end, it transpired that KCB had 'lost' the instruction. A while back we wrote of first experience at moving money in Rwanda (see Cashback with every transfer). You would think we would have learnt a lesson by now.
The banks certainly do try and keep your money safe here. So safe, getting it out is almost more trouble than it is worth. One of the staff at our street children project told us about about the Banque Populaire. He said that if you get down there really early in the morning and wait, you might get your money by lunchtime. He wasn't joking either. Does anyone know of any popular banks anywhere?