Japan Banking is a Polite Bureaucratic Hell

The other day I had to do three bank transfers for my company, since my business partner who usually takes care of this, couldn't. The bank tellers are really very polite, but I can't get away from the idea that they are also completely incompetent, albeit really politely.

The thing is, I had only the bank book and the hanko (stamp). If you have the cash card and PIN, it's easy to do a bank transfer. You deal with an ATM only. But if you don't, it's forms, and forms mean mistakes, especially for a schlub like me whose written Japanese is fair, to be charitable. 😅

On getting there at 11AM, I explained the situation, saying what I brought and what I want to do. I got the right forms (there's a different one depending on the target bank). Filled the forms, getting help from the floor teller, whose directions I followed to the letter. It takes me a while to fill them out too, because of course it's all Japanese, this being Japan.

Submitted the forms, waited 20 minutes. Got apologetically called up and told I need to re-write the forms because the order I wrote the company name and my name was incorrect, and, I can't just cross it out. It has to be company name first, then my name and title. Also, I wrote my own title wrong, apparently, despite having been told to enter it that way. But... the lady out there said... nevermind. Have a seat...

So, rewrote the forms how the window teller told me (even flubbed up one from sheer fatigue and re-wrote it), re-submitted, more waiting. Called again. The name on this transfer form is not correct (despite the spelling being exactly what is on the directions I got from the requester). Fixed it to her directions, stamping where I needed to, and for some inexplicable reason they let me cross it out and stamp the affected area. Uhh, but you just said... nevermind. Have a seat...

Got called again, this time to write my name and company name on the back of a piece of paper "for security reasons". Uhh, ok... poor writing ensues. Have a seat...

Called again. Also, your name here, and here, and here is incorrect. It needs middle dots.

In other words, this:

コグレー ジェームズ

... had to be this:

コグレー・ジェームズ

Fortunately, this time they let me just add the dots, miracle of miracles.

More waiting, wondering if the Wizard of Oz in the back there is having fun or not. Finally, success, at 14:00 after three hours. I hope I never have to do that again. Argh.



Social Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash


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