Thursday, December 23, 2010

Banking on Your Bank Account

Yesterday was another milestone on the path to.... well, on a path. I am not sure what path.

Bank of China logoIn any case, yesterday I opened a Chinese Bank account. It was a relatively painless experience, even though I had to come back twice.

(Going to a bank here can be pretty frustrating. Once I had to wait for two hours to deposit some money in an account. We also go to the Bank to pay our phone bill, which can take up to an hour.)

The first time I went in for my account, I just noticed that the process was very labor and paper intensive. I must have signed about 20 little papers and keyed my new pin-code in about 30 different times.

The second time, I had to come back because something was wrong with my name.

Of course, the--to a Chinese eye--six names in my passport are very confusing. Three first names (Anna...M...H....), and three pieces for a last name (van...der...Heijden). They had only used my first first name to set up my account, but they had to change it, to include all three first name, so the account information would be identical to my passport. (We would not want to make it too hard on those people who are always carefully reviewing your personal information.)

Incidentally, as I was Googling (as you do) to find the Bank of China Website, of course Wikipedia with its unbelievable supply of information popped up first. I don't think there is a Bank in the world with more history than the Bank of China in just one little century:

From Wikipedia:

Bank of China's history goes back to 1905, when the Qing government established Daqing Hubu Bank (in Chinese: 大清户部银行) in Beijing, which was in 1908 renamed to Daqing Bank (in Chinese: 大清银行). When the Republic of China was established in 1912, it was further renamed as Bank of China by President Sun Yat-sen's government, adding a new role of the central bank.

After the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949, the Bank of China effectively split into two operations. Part of the bank relocated to Taiwan with the Kuomintang (KMT) government. It was privatised in 1971 to become the International Commercial Bank of China (中國國際商業銀行). It has subsequently merged with the Taiwan Bank of Communications (Chiao Tung Bank, 交通銀行) to become the Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商業銀行). The Mainland operation is the current entity known as the Bank of China.

Wow, I am feeling exhausted just reading this. I hope my new Bank account will outlive the next revolution :-)

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