HSBC ad from Horton Plains via Shuyu
HSBC is truly the world’s local bank. They’ve picked up all the nepotistic bullshit of Sri Lanka like a sponge. First off, you can’t get an HSBC account at all without a reference. Then, once in, you cannot get an HSBC Credit Card without a cash deposit and a reference. Then, after years of dutifully paying your bills, they need one more family reference to issue a credit card with actual credit. And that family member has to have a landline, not a cell phone. I understand that Sri Lankans are pretty shoddy credit-wise, this is true. However, if HSBC had any decent customer management they should know me by now. Three years ago I sat down with my mother and gave a Rs 50,000 deposit for a credit card. So it’s basically a chequing account that I pay interest on, but whatever. I have had this card for years, and I pay my balance every month (automatically). I have built a credit record over three years with HSBC and they still want to know ‘who do you know?’ I’ve been giving them my money for 3 years and they still treat me like a stranger. If I had anywhere else to go I would tell HSBC to go fuck themselves, but I don’t. So HSBC will keep providing poor customer service because the bar is low and I as a consumer have to suck it up.
In Sri Lanka I am often forced to deal with bad companies simply because the competition treats me worse. Take the UNP vs the SLFP for one. HSBC, for example, is still an international bank. Commercial and Sampath aren’t. I can walk into ‘my’ bank in Singapore or Montreal or whatever, which is cool. Unfortunately, HSBC Sri Lanka adds nothing to the HSBC brand except Sri Lankan bureaucracy and incompetence. In Canada my friend got a credit card at a baseball game with less hassle. I could walk into my branch at the Bank Of Montreal and they’d look at my income and history at the bank and judge me on that. Not who my family was. Not who I knew. I had no relatives in Quebec and no credit history, but I built one over years and they respected that. HSBC doesn’t respect my credit history, they still want to know who my family is. I find that insulting and very unprofessional for a serious bank.
What if I had a willful marriage and pissed off my whole family? Does HSBC not want my business? What if I’m an orphan, or what if my family is too poor (or smart) to have a landline? What if my extended family is abroad, in Jaffna or not talking to me? Is that another class of people that HSBC will not serve?
I always thought banks judged people based on their financial and credit history, but HSBC continues asking about my family. I don’t mind giving HSBC my payslips, I don’t mind them knowing my credit record, but they have no right to ask me for references after I’ve been their good customer for 3 years. I am the reference bitch, I’ve been here. Look up my accounts, I pay my bills on time and that’s all my bank needs to know. I’m honestly tired of pulling strings, I just want a bank that treats me like a customer, judged on my merits as a customer, not based on who I know. I think that’s called customer service. It’s not really practiced here, so I guess the world’s local bank has adapted.