15 May 2012

My Bank Thinks “I” Means Idiot, not Interest

They also think that red is a good color in finance.


Alfa Bank (Альфа Банк) is my bank in Russia.  In case you are wondering, I have not misspelled “alpha.”  My bank choice is as unfortunate as the idiotic and intentional English misspelling of the bank’s name.


My bank account hit by what appears to have been a systematic fraud operation in Russia:  Somehow, my debit card information and PIN number were compromised and the result was a multi-thousand dollar theft loss.  The same appears to have been true for many other people, including a few acquaintances, at various banks.  To be fair, this could happen anywhere.

Alfa Bank was good enough to detect fraud after the seventh thousand dollar left my account but, per a branch manager, the bank could not guarantee the safety of my funds in the bank at any time.  In other words, the bank manager admitted that Alfa Bank is of the same safety grade as any random hole in the ground, except that because the word “bank” is in Alfa Bank’s name, it is a bigger target.  This is not OK and should not happen anywhere.  Let’s award “I1” to the bank manager for the insanely idiotic nature of her statement.

I2 is awarded to the same bank manager idiot for instructing me to file a police repot for a breach in a bank that she manages, so that the police can investigate the crime.  She then said to wait for 9 months to get the results back.  I am starting to wonder whether I should report her to the police for criminal negligence.

Welcome to the Alfa VIP Lounge

I3 is awarded to whichever idiot that designated me as a “VIP Client.”  Unsatisfied with the idiot in charge who got the I1 and I2 awards, I went to a separate branch to push my case.  The bank staff, having identified me as a VIP Client, put me in a private office and asked a pretty 19-year-old girl to tend to my needs.  I told the girl that she was very nice, but I needed someone competent and asked her to send the branch manager in.

At Alfa Bank, We Select Our Managers Carefully

Out walked the girl and in walked in a clown.  He deserves I4, I5, and I6.  

I4 is for his shirt:  This pudgy self-designated Romeo was wearing a very tight, multi-colored Tommy Hilfiger polo over his budging belly.  When I say multicolored, I mean that each sleeve had a different primary color, as did his collar.  And for some weird reason, his shirt was stitched together in the middle with yet fabric of different color.  It was like watching a TV color test screen.  Befittingly, he disseminated just as much useful content.

My Fashion, My Brain

I5 is for the clown’s necktie.  As if his shirt was not offensive enough, dumbbell the banker also sported a weirdly knotted tie that was just long enough to fit only an 11-year-old choirboy properly, with the tip just hovering above his protruding tummy.  And as difficult as it seems, none of the colors of his tacky tie matched any of the gazillion colors of his stupid shirt.  I mean:  Come on!

The clown noticed that I was agitated.  He heard my story and tried to console me.  This effort gets him an I6.  Without reviewing any documentation, he said to come back after 70 days to know where the bank investigation has led.  Bank investigation?  Really?  I thought I had to file a police so that they could analyze the bank’s failings.  Does the bank have any sort of process, or train any of its managers on process?

Here is a tidbit for others who find themselves in a similar situation as me:  By Russian law, a bank is obliged to answer to a consumer demand similar in nature to mine within 10 days.  If the bank refuses to compensate the consumer for fraudulent losses, the consumer has the option of suing the bank in a Russian court.  In most cases, the court sides with the consumer. 

How did I learn this?  A former Alfa Bank operations manager, who left the company for greener pastures, confirmed this information nugget.  Somehow, existing Alfa Bank managers seem to be oblivious to this.

Maybe the first bank manager was right, and my I1 award was undeserved:  Alfa Bank is about as good as a hole in the ground.  In any case, the bank deserves a new, more descriptive logo (luckily, it still preserves their red color scheme).

Alfa Bank: Operational Excellence

Alfa Bank, just FYI:  Red in financial parlance means “loss.”  At least, your color is accurately descriptive.

1 comment:

  1. Uh-oh! I hope you’ve gotten things sorted out with this bank by now. I wonder why it came to a point wherein you had to make some unnecessary roundabouts just to get what you wanted from them. Maybe it’s time to switch banks, don’t you think so? I’m sure there are other banks in Russia that would be more than capable of keeping your money secure and staff that would be a lot easier to talk with should any problems arise.

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