Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 14 2008

Bank Sinopac

I went to the bank today to see if I could adjust my interest rate on my housing loan, which has gotten a bit unruly lately. I had discussed my case with the woman at the bank, a Ms. Chen, many times on the phone, and she said I should come in to discuss the issue further and look at some different plans. This, however, necessitated a trip across town to the main Bank Sinopac office near the Far Eastern Hotel.

I walked over from the subway, found the place and was directed down to the basement level, where I found an empty reception desk, an empty help desk, and a generally dark, empty room. I peeked into the offices on either side and failed to arouse anyone’s interest. A single fellow in a tie chatted on the phone, leaning on the unmanned reception desk. “Wonderful service here,” I muttered. The guy on the phone glanced at me and continued chatting. I took out my phone and called Ms. Chen. “Are you here?” she asked.

“I’m downstairs,” I said.

“Ok, just go into the office on your right when you come in,” she said. I did so, and a woman approached me, while the other workers stared.

“I’m looking for Ms. Chen Xin-yue,” I said, and the woman burst out in giggles. She looked over at her co-workers and managed to point at Ms. Chen, who had stood up at the mention of her name. She looked at me, uncomprehending. “I’m here,” I said. “Me. I’m…uh, we had an appointment? I talked to you not five seconds ago?”

More giggles. “Oh!” Ms. Chen said, looking shocked and pointing me to a nearby desk, where I sat down and waited. As I did so, the entire section of office I’d just turned away from burst out into laughter.

Eventually the giggles died down and Ms. Chen came over. “Ok…” she said hesitantly, apparently unsure how to proceed. “Do you….do you have an ID card?”

You know I do, I thought. “Yes,” I said, and handed it over. She looked at it, then consulted her computer a while.

“You know, we could offer you a much better rate if you transferred all of your investments, funds and the like to us,” she said, saying “rate” in English. I declined, and she shrugged. After a while she asked me to sign a form. “Sign here to promise that you won’t pay off the loan within a year, and we’ll see if we can come up with a better rate.”

That’s it? I thought. “Could you at least give me a ballpark range?” I’d been led to believe on the phone that I could reduce my interest rate substantially and would be given several plans to choose from, but the figures she gave me were unimpressive at best, and would only last a year, after which the rate would go back up.

I mentioned the poor service I’d had at the bank previously, such as last month when the clerk asked me if I was positive I’d paid the payment the month before. I mentioned that many other banks have been calling me about switching my loan to them and giving quite attractive rates. Ms. Chen seemed at once skeptical and apologetic about these stories. “I’ll see what I can do, and we’ll get back to you with a solid figure,” she repeated, and then added. “Oh, and will you be staying in Taiwan long?”

I blinked, stared.

“Because you might leave, you see,” she went on. You must really, really not want my business, I thought.

“Get your supervisor over here,” I said.

“What?”

“You do have a supervisor? Or do I have the privilege of addressing the top dog here?”

The supervisor was called. I showed her my bank book. “It’s not much, I know,” I said. “Of course, it might grow in the future. I have steady work at a government position. But,” I paused and pointed at the book, “You will never see a penny of it, thanks to your bank’s abominable service and idiots like Bobo the Clown here.” I pointed at Ms. Chen. The giggling had stopped.

And then I went to lunch. Lunch, at least, was nice.

I went to Fubon, who were professional and happy to handle my mortgage, savings, and all my other financial business. They offered me a competitive interest rate, anyway, so I can only assume that the Sinopac people are simply, woefully inept at customer relations for some reason.

posted by Poagao at 7:05 am  

8 Comments

  1. You should be glad that sub-prime mortgage is not a crisis in Taiwan yet.

    Comment by Ahnew — May 14, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Well, at least not this bank. They are not smart enough to manipulate that kind of thing. So it’s their stupidity saved them.

    Comment by Daniel — May 14, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  3. What the bank wants is that you can find a strong financial quarantor in case if you leave Taiwan they can get money back from the quarantor.
    One of the disadvantages for a white man in Taiwan is local banks don’t feel security to deal with you. Even you got ID card, are Taiwanese nation, banks still regard you as a “foreigner”. The Taiwanes banking system still far far away from globalization. Did you wear the shirt with the Chinese characters of “Taiwanese” ? You should.

    Comment by Ray — May 15, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  4. Regarding comment by “Ray” on May 15, 2008 @ 1:28am. What exactly do you mean, “Did you wear the shirt with the Chinese characters of “Taiwanese”?

    Can someone point me to a photograph of one of these shirts if in fact they do exist. Am I missing something?

    Comment by Kent — May 16, 2008 @ 2:03 am

  5. Kent, they sell them in Ximending, I got a couple a few days ago. Maybe I’ll take a photo of myself in one of them.

    Comment by Poagao — May 16, 2008 @ 2:32 am

  6. […] recent post on his bad experience at Bank Sinopac, a bank I won’t be going to anytime soon, reminded me […]

    Pingback by Banking | The Taipei Kid — May 16, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  7. did you ever get a new rate quote?

    Comment by MJ Klein — August 13, 2008 @ 1:18 am

  8. I switched my loan to another financial institution with a fixed interest rate.

    Comment by Poagao — August 13, 2008 @ 1:31 am

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