Opening a Bank Account in Ecuador: Day 3

22 Oct

We went back this morning with all of our papers, ready to open a bank account. For the third day. We even got there a little earlier than than past two days and beat out the line, so we went straight to a bank representative. My host mother proudly showed all of the documents that they had requested, signed and filled out correctly. Just as the bank had asked. But of course, it wasn’t going to end there.

As the woman behind the desk went through all the papers, I could see she was just looking for a reason to not give me a bank account. It would be too easy. First she yelled over to an associate about something, apparently she wanted more than my Ecuadorian ID, she wanted some other ID that foreigners don’t even get.

She then called up her boss, and after a minute on the phone, accepted that the card I had was good enough. She had me sign about 20 different papers, some with blue ink, some with black ink, some at the bottom, some in the middle. Everything was in order, and we were on our way. I even went over to the teller to deposit my $5 and get the account started, but then Issue #225 presented itself.

As she was asking me what design I wanted on my bank card (there were four choices, and I all but told her I didn’t care what it looked like, I just wanted it), she suddenly realized that I needed another piece of paper from the university. Apparently the contract wasn’t enough for them, even though the university never told me I’d need another piece of paper. This other letter from the university would have to be handed to the bank before I could officially have my account and get my bank card.

So now I have my bank account, technically, but I can’t access it. I can check it online, but I can’t do anything other than wave to it. I went with my host sister to the office at the university later on after class to get the letter, and that was just another roadblock. I had to show my photocopy of my passport, which I luckily had. The secretary made a photocopy, but then gave it back to me, leaving me to wonder why she needed it in the first place.

Now I will have to go back tomorrow to pick up the letter from the university, so hopefully by Friday, Day 5, I will have my bank account so that I can start getting a little money flowing in. But I’m not holding my breath.


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