Banking at the End of My Rope

So. A follow-up to a previous post about banking while in Morocco. It turns out that loyalty pays off. You have to have faith. 
Before I left I was sad to learn at the branch level that CIBC, where I have been a customer since the late 70’s, did not currently offer money transfers to Maroc. Boo.

Having read of my discontent in my blog, an old camp friend who works at CIBC, sent me a note and said “WAIT! We can do this. Don’t be hasty in making decisions.” And so began a conversation with CIBC corporate about their entry to the global money transfer to Morocco. Apparently the Kingdom was next on the list to be added.  

Patience Jedi. 

Now having been here before with two bank cards, (business and personal) and finding that really only one of them worked and then only at one ATM in the medina, I knew I needed to diversify and hedge my bets. So I went to BMO because all my friends said its Ssssooo great. I marched into the branch on the Queensway with one week to go and opened an account. I told the woman helping me that I was moving to Morocco and could she help me with International money transfer. SPECIFICALLY. “Of course” came the answer. “No problem”. She briefly mentioned that they used the Western Union platform. No problem said my technology mind. Probably white labeled. Nothing wrong with that. Use a proven platform I always say. Keep it clean. Yalla! 

Then I did something else really stupid just before I left. I asked for the monthly deposit I have set up to be switched from CIBC to BMO. My thinking : BMO for sure can do it, CIBC might take time. Put your money where you can get it. I had other ways to get money into CIBC. Done right? All my bases are covered. 

Fast forward to Marrakech. I go open an account at Societe Generale. Done. I go home and set up a transfer from BMO to Morocco. ( cue music…..dun dun dun). It’s not BMO at all. It’s full on Western Union. With full knowledge of failure I go to SG and check. “La.” I have to go to Western Union. And I can’t bring back cash to deposit because I’m not legal here yet. 

With no time left we leave to go away for several days. We swing through Marrakech for a day, run to WU and no luck. No transfer. But I opened an account and got a bank card so WHEN I eventually worked I’d be set.  

Meantime, I get some corrospondence from my new friends at CIBC. They would like to test the new platform and would I mind terribly if they transfered $100 to me for the pleasure of said test? Me : hell ya. “Give ‘er!” 

So I send them my pertinent SG bank information. I get a note with a transfer number, an amount in dirhams, and they said it will come Friday or Monday. So I wait until Monday, wander in to see my friend Wassim at SG and there it is. Exactly the right amount, arrived on Friday. Bob is in fact my uncle. Yay!!! I now have the super slick ability to send myself vast amounts of cash from Canada to Morocco, through online banking, from real bank to REAL bank. (Western Union is $900 max per transfer at $18 a pop). (And not a real bank).

Now back to the monkeys at BMO.  The original $900 transfer is credited back, less the $18 fee. I do another transfer thinking I screwed up the first time. 

I take a screen shot of the confirmation WITHIN online banking with the confirmation #, the WU number, the date and time, my name and address and account information. March on over to see my new boyfriend at WU and “la”. He hands me a sticky note “transfer cancelled” it says. WTF. 

I hit the bank machine on my way back since I need cash. No love from BMO. I try to log in online and check the deal. No love. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 

Call BMO. “No I’m sorry I can’t find your bank card in our system, you’ll need to go to a branch with two pieces of ID”. “Ok no. I live in Africa.” “Oh so there is a note here to contact our fraud department.” Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 

I talk to the fraud guy. Name, address, date of birth, when did I open the account, yada yada yada. “Ok, sorry about that. Give it an hour and it will be fine.” 

An hour. Two. Sixteen. I call back the next day. Talk to a man who verifies all my details, puts me on hold FOREVER, and then the second he comes back I drop the call. Call back, wait in que FOREVER, call drops. Call again, a woman answers, call drops. Call again. Paul answers. 

By this time I have NO love for Paul. “Paul, take down this phone number, do NOT put me on hold, here’s my problem.” A long time passes and then he says “you’re going to have to go to your branch with two pieces of ID”. “PAUL” I said. “Please find me the person who can resolve this, I will send you the screen shot from your bank confirming this. I LIVE IN AFRICA DUDE. Don’t leave me hanging.” Time passes. Paul eventually comes back and says, “OK. Seems there is NO EVIDENCE OF FRAUD. So give us an hour and everything will be restored.” 

Call drops. 

I get ready to move on with my life. I’ve already reordered my monthly deposit BACK to CIBC. My phone rings. It’s China calling.

“Hi Paul. Thanks for calling back.” 

“It’s all resolved Miss Black. I just wanted to apologize for putting you through all that. That was unnecessary for you and should not have happened.”

And that is why Paul was promoted to the Fraud department from the front line call centre. 

Still closing my account in June. 



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