A few problems with banks in Thailand.
We get a check from Citibank in Bangkok… (my girlfriend and I). It’s made out to her. It’s drawn on Citbank in Bangkok. It’s a “Manager’s Check” which, a translation for us Americans would be a cashier’s check or a bank check I think.
This means the check is good anywhere. Citibank is roughly 1000 times larger than any Thai bank in existence. A bank employee just SEEING one of these checks should replace it with the exact amount in cash or gold bullion on the spot. Here’s what happened…
We went to Tesco / Lotus to their after hours Bangkok bank branch since my girlfriend doesn’t get off work until after the one in own is closed. They told us, “You’ll have to come before 7 pm to deposit that check into your account.”
Hmm. They were open, but they don’t take checks after 7.
We returned tonight, my girlfriend getting off work early so we could bust tail to arrive by 7 pm. No matter because, as it turns out – that branch doesn’t accept checks. We’d need to fill out a deposit slip and I could run by the bank in town to deposit it because the Tesco branch doesn’t deposit checks.
We decide, hmm, we’ll open a Siam Commercial bank account tonight and deposit the check now. We go to Siam Commercial. They tell us that because the bank is Citibank they will need to deposit the check for 2 weeks before we’re able to get the funds. There IS no city bank anywhere other than Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand they say.
But, they can’t deposit the check because at the Tesco branch because they don’t deposit checks.
We go back to ask the Bangkok bank branch a question. They now say that our Bangkok Citibank check cannot be cashed unless we open a Bangkok bank account locally. Apparently when we opened the account at Bangkok bank in Ubon Ratchathani THAT is where we have to do our banking at…
THE BANKS ARE NOT LINKED IN THAILAND. IF you opened your account in Ubon and you want to deposit a check from Bangkok Citibank you must GO TO UBON to deposit it.
OR you must open another Bangkok bank account locally and deposit it!
IF you lose your ATM card for your Ubon Bank account, or wherever in Thailand that you opened your account- you
MUST GO TO THAT CITY TO GET YOUR BANK ATM CARD REPLACED!
YES! Seriously. There are many Bangkok Banks all over Thailand, but they can do VERY LITTLE for you unless you’re at the exact same branch that you opened your account at. No joke. It’s stupidity squared.
One more reason nobody has anything to worry about. Thailand is NOT taking over the world in this or the next millenium.
Update 1/2011 – This is funny, I haven’t read this in over 2 years. My wife’s family uses Bangkok Bank for all their transactions and there hasn’t been any problem for anything. We don’t have any Citibank checks anymore, so that’s a non-issue. Not sure if their policy has changed on it. Probably not. There are still things in 2011 that you cannot do if you’re not at the Thailand bank you opened an account at. The other day I was told if we sell a motorbike from another province we need to go back to that province to submit the paperwork for the change of owner. Yeah, right we’ll do that…
On a positive note – the Thai baht keeps going up. If you make money in TH – you’re doing OK! If you bring it from the USA or UK, AUS, CA, wherever you are – you’re hurting because your money took a dive compared to the Thai Baht.
Thailand is on a roll here…