Do you recognize this man? This is your bank clerk when you ask him to enter something in their system and the system doesn’t accept it 🙂
The first challenge was to update my personal information with a Russian bank. They asked me to provide my new address. Okay, I provided them with my new address, but the postal index in Canada is… alphanumerical, not numerical. So it is V6H1J5. And bank clerk had a hard time entering it. A couple days later they gave me a call basically suggesting that they cannot change my address, so they will put my Russian registration address in Novosibirsk to my file.
The second challenge was to change my mobile phone number remotely. Okay, I reached them via Skype and ordered to change my phone number. Since mobile phone is used to confirm most of the transactions, they said that a bank security officer will call my old number during next couple days to confirm the change. They called me several times at 2-3 AM, a few times I was disconnected because of a negative balance on my Russian cell phone (it costs a bundle to talk in roaming). Finally we made it, but they told me they cannot guarantee short messages delivery to foreign numbers, but thanks god they come normally.
The final nightmare I had to deal with was a SWIFT money transfer. I’ve already written about this saga in my last piece Money transfer: From Russia to Canada, but it is worth examining it in details.
I wanted to transfer US dollars to USD account with a bank in Canada to save on currency conversion. In order to do so, this transfer should go thru an intermediary bank (a.k.a correspondent bank) in the United States. If money transfer goes thru an intermediary, Raiffeisen bank mandates providing a SWIFT code of the intermediary bank along with a correspondence bank account of your Canadian bank with the intermediary bank.
The specifics of my case was in a correspondence bank account. Canadian banks generally do not have numerical bank account IDs with banks in the Uniter States. Instead for historical reasons, US banks allocate dedicated SWIFT codes that are used to transfer USD to the Canadian bank and that is all you need to know. So I didn’t have a correspondence bank account number and TD Canada Trust was unable to provide me with it.
It took a number of sessions with specialists from Raiffeisen to make them accepting my money transfer order without a correspondence bank account number. Given a time difference of 11 hours it wasn’t easy at all. It was like this: “I’ll call you in a couple hours!”. WTF, man, it is already 1AM in Vancouver! “Okay, I’ll call you in 30 minutes then!”