Thursday, April 10, 2008

I hate you Citibank

One of the many preparatory steps I took for my Paris adventure, was to open a new bank account. I already have two banks with which I do business, and a mutual fund operator, but none of them have an international presence. What I needed was a bank with branches in the US and France. Citibank seemed to fit the bill.

After one of my multitude of trivial doctor's appointments last week, I noticed a Citibank (henceforth abbreviated as "CB") branch on my walk from doctor's office to the metro. Perfect! I stopped in, waited a good 20 minutes, talked to a guy for at least another half an hour, and walked out the proud new owner of a CB account.

I got home, logged on and set everything up for internet banking. I set up links between the new account and one of my other accounts. Excitement!

Today, I remember to check on line for CB ATMs in Paris. The rates are much better if you make the transactions on their ATMs--even if it's on your US account.

After more searching than seems reasonable, I come to the page that lists all the countries where CB has branches. France is not on the list.

Astonishing! I call the relevant number and ask, "Are there any CB ATMs in Paris?" She puts me on hold.

The answer? "No."

Damn. I call the US number and say I want to cancel my account because I only opened it because I was told they had branches in France. The fellow on the phone says, "We do have branches in France!"

I say, "Not according to your website."

Guess it's HSBC for me. Argh!

Grateful for: patience.

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