It looks like, after 20 years of leaving my money with UOB, I will have to close my accounts, because of the poor service I have received of late.
Two recent instances are galvanising me to act.
Earlier this month, I found one of my small fixed deposits — OK, all my deposits are small as I like to spread out the interest income stream — had been renewed for 0.5% for 15 months.
I was unhappy but what to do? With interest rates so low, it will take more time (and therefore money) than it is worth to pull out the money and put it into another bank.
Then, by happenchance I was at the Ang Mo Kio hub on Friday (Jan 22) and having some time to spare decided to transfer some money from my OCBC savings account to an FD because I saw the rate was 0.55% for 12 months. Quite an improvement on UOB, unless one was betting interest rates would remain low or worse, go south.
What made me happier was that the teller, on seeing my IC, unasked upped the rate to 0.675%. Now this is what I call a bank that’s fair to its small customers.
Next unhappy episode with UOB is over new money, that is the fresh currency notes which the Monetary Authority of Singapore issues around Chinese New Year for the Chinese to draw from their bank accounts to give away in hongbaos.
Last week, I duly called the UOB officer in charge of my account to ask when the new notes would be available. She said she didn’t know and could not keep track for me as she would be going on leave. Please call me after I come back, she instructed me.
I called back, be4 her return, as I couldn’t wait and her assistant told me she would let me know by today.
Now as luck would have it, I happened to be at the DBS Bank Great World City branch to pay my credit card bill. There was a queue and a young man greeted every new entrant, freely distributing hongbao skins and also the invitation to get new notes.
Hah? And I’ve no word at all from the UOB assistant to the officer in charge of my account. So while waiting in the queue, I called her on my mobile to inquire about the status of my request for new notes.
The chirpy young lady was just about to call me, she declared. I could have my new notes on Feb 28, she chirped. And yes, I could have them from OUB Centre which i usually go to instead of the Orchard Road outlet that I had been assigned some time ago, without any consultation or by my leave.
That was why I decided to change only a small amount of new notes at the DBS Bank, instead of all that I needed, since UOB had already alloted me all I had asked for.
Thus can you beat it when I got home only to receive another call from the chirpy young lady to say alas, I couldn’t have the new notes from the OUB Centre; since they had been reserved for me at the Orchard branch, I had to collect them there.
Of cos I was more than unhappy and told the chirpy young lady that her “sorry, Ms X” wasn’t good enough. I know I was being unfair as she was only the messenger, merely reflecting the inflexibility of the framework she’s working within.
The happy ending for me is that that got me to search thru my name cards and found one of an acquaintance working at the UOB Main branch. She kindly agreed to release the required amount of new notes to me — at the Main branch which is across the road from OUB Centre.
Still, one swallow doesn’t make a summer.
I shall work steadily to untangle the banking relations I have with UOB, sticky though some of them are. It may take some time, but it will happen, one at a time..
A bank with a system that’s not fair and helpful to a customer — me, anyway — doesn’t deserve my support, n’est pas?