Update: bank vs. banco

Ok, not to beat a dead horse (translation for Brazilians: the attempt to continue a conversation or seek a resolution that is futile), but today I had to make two deposits at two different banks. Fellow bloggers had previously given me some good tips (see Update: Payments Predicament), but these weren’t bills with a barcode that I could scan at the auto-teller. I was walking in with emails that included letter-number codes that I couldn’t decipher, but could only hope would be understood by the tellers.

I arrived at the Bradesco on Rua Padre Joao Manuel at 11:05 a.m. There were 11 people in line and appeared to be no one behind the one counter. That was because the ONE teller that was working at the counter had to go into a little partitioned room to conduct each and every transaction. What was this place before it was a bank? A kennel?

I had to quickly take the picture above because I’m quite certain they recognized me from last time I was there and got in trouble for taking a picture. (Weird – see Pink.) The security guard actually came up behind me and looked over my shoulder to see what I was doing, but by that time I had already switched over to pretending to read emails on my phone.

There were three people at customer service desks helping other customers with various, undisclosed tasks. Where was the manager for the Bradesco at 808 Rua Padre Joao Manuel and why wasn’t he monitoring  this situation?? Oh, there we was, waddling down the stairs. He took one look around, saw all the people waiting, and high-tailed it back up the stairs. Nice. One of the guys from behind one of the three desks, Ricardo, kept going back into the partitioned teller area, but not helping anyone. There must have been a pile of brigadeiro back there or something.

I did feel bad for the one teller, Eduardo, because he did look awful stressed. There were also a pile of senior citizens waiting to be helped. And Eduardo had to leave his cage and go over to Ricardo’s desk to pick up anything he printed.

My transaction was not complete until 11:42 a.m. This would not fly in the U.S. After 10 minutes of waiting, people start to grumble. Come 15 minutes and a riot begins to form with people threatening to take their business down the street. And these threats work, because people are in line because THEY have accounts at the bank. Most of us were in line because SOMEONE ELSE had an account at this bank and we were making a payment for something we wanted. For me, it was just a birthday cake for my daughter. For others, it was gas or electricity. In fact, I’m guessing no one in line had an account at Bradesco, so threats were futile. Everyone should be aware that in Brazil, there is an additional cost embedded in a product or service you need to pay for directly at the counter of the vendor’s bank. That is the opportunity cost of spending your time in a way that’s more productive than standing in line. Be sure to negotiate appropriately with these vendors.

I arrived at the second bank, Itau, at 11:50 a.m. I had better luck there. I think it was because Itau was undergoing some heavy renovations and it didn’t even look open. Itau did have a helpful sign on the teller window alerting patrons to when and why lines might be longer at times. I asked my teller if I could take a picture of the information sign, but he explained, as I had guessed, that photography was absolutely not allowed in the bank. But he did tell me, only after I asked, that the information was available on the website.

My transaction at Itau was complete at 12:02 p.m. And I was grateful.

(See original post: bank vs. banco)

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12 Responses to Update: bank vs. banco

  1. A kennel…lol! The banks are very different here…for example to cash a large check, we have to make an appointment. Such a PITB. My husband did grumble after 20 minutes one day at Amazonia Bank. He said something to the manage about getting more tellers out there, and the manager said he didn’t have any more tellers, to which my husband said something about ‘if I open a banana store I have to have bananas.’ In 3 second (seriously) a young woman came out and knocked out 10 people in less than 5 minutes.

    • HA. Ok, next time I’m going to use the banana thing. That is genius.

      • Becky says:

        hahahaha jennifer. love it!

        my favorite bank experience was last week when i wanted to wire money to the states. i asked the lady at the entrance where i needed to wait to transfer money (which i had in my hands, rather than in my account) to the united states, she gave me a number and i went upstairs to the waiting room (which thank goodness had air conditioning) and waited 45 minutes to be called. as soon as i was called i explained what i wanted to do to the man at the counter and he goes, well you came to the right place! let’s get that money deposited, then you can go get another number to wait for the other person to transfer the money for you. GRUMBLE. after another hour of waiting i was called only to find that they would not know the cost of the transfer until the transfer was already sent. consequently, i cancelled the transaction as they wanted to charge me almost 10% in fees, not including the fees lovely Bank of America would charge me.

        I forgot to add that i had waited 30 minutes earlier that day in line but had to leave because, you know, i had a job, and couldn’t sit around in the bank all day. GAH. how do people who have real jobs (like, 9-5ers) get ANYTHING done at the bank?

        at least i had the opportunity to buy some homemade queibra-queixo when i got irritated and left and went for a short walk during my 2 hour stay at the bank. thankfully, it was, DELICIOUS!

        cheers from rondonia!
        Becky

        • OMG. I think I would have had a stroke. I know. I wondered myself and often feel very sorry for the maids and drivers that are forced to spend the hour they get off for the week in a line at the bank.

  2. nina says:

    The bank can be such a hit and miss thing. But in general the word HELL would sum it up. If I die and go to hell, I know my hell is going to be a Brazilian bank.

    • OMG. That is funny. But so not. Yes, it is a big slab of hell. Especially if you are some poor baba who needs to spend the short amount of time she gets off to pay a bill. Because that is who I was in line with. Bastard banks.

  3. Karina says:

    Dear B.A.B.,

    I heard about something that maybe can help you. It’s a system called DDA.

    Here are some explanations in Portuguese
    http://economia.terra.com.br/noticias/noticia.aspx?idNoticia=200910131404_RED_78462753
    Ask your husband to read it and check if it could help you. I don’t use this system, but I have friends that do and they really like it. It’s not like the ‘automatic payment’ option, but it seems that you can visualize your bills on internet and pay it electronically.

    Hope it may help you 🙂

  4. Corinne says:

    ugh! I avoid banks like the plague. Fortunately I can, since I do all on line or at an ATM. The only bank I actually step foot inside is my credit union (yes, in Brazil) and it is run pretty much like a US bank service wise (hardly any lines, managers know your name, etc.). Be careful about using your phone in the bank. There are laws against pictures and using a cell phone in the bank as a means to deter bank robberies or muggings of people coming out of the bank.

  5. Ah HA. Good to know. Probably even more illegal to take the pictures and then post on the internet. Hmmm. Although there’s not much to be seen in my photos.

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