Exploring the local banking system turned out confusing, surprising, stressful and amusing. Sophia was so nice to accompany me again (after several other organizational matters like buying the motorbike) and I am super grateful she still had the patience!
She called beforehand and it seemed to be no problem so we tried Bank number one: KBZ. After some discussions it turns out they are not so happy that the first 70 days of my One Year-Business Visa are already over and ask to come back in January.
Bank number two is CB, my curiosity has been raised although I don’t need it urgently – I want to know if it is possible at all.
She refers us to another CB Bank with a foreign office at 81st and 19th street. Once arrived, forms are handed over immediately and Sophia and I are quite surprised. But quickly several matters turn out to be a problem:
1) The local account cannot receive international transfers. But it comes with an ATM card.
2) The international account can receive transfers from abroad but it can only be accessed in person at the bank.
3) Where does the money come from? Some paperwork is needed – even if I don’t plan on transferring my scholarship grant we use this paper as reference. This works but we are told it is not possible to transfer a higher amount than this monthly grant (not that I would at the moment but FYI).
4) The invitation letter that states that I will be in Myanmar for a little longer is needed too. Luckily it’s on my drive so my mobile phone is passed on to several hands before I am asked to send it via email.
5) The same with my Passport.
6) All these documents will go to the head office in Yangon for review. One of us (most likely Sophia) will receive a call in the next days whether that is possible.
7) Everyone in that bank knows pretty much everything about me…but by now I am used to it.
While we were waiting next to us some money stapling took place, so I can see why nobody feels concerned about handing around my passport…
Surprisingly I was even allowed to take a picture of this while trying to take a picture of a mushroom (that I wanted to show to a local as I didn’t know it) at the supermarket was prohibited.
To open the local account would only take 10 minutes and I can put some money in to have it more easily available and withdraw for free in contrast to keeping the dollars at home (because carrying them around on a daily basis is no option as with the slightest fold it’s gonna be complicated if not impossible to find someone who exchanges them). So we decided that it is useful and those 10 minutes were no big deal to give it a try. In the end it took another hour and I am the proud owner of a cheque book now – something I just know from old movies – at least until I get the ATM card in two weeks time.
In total we spent 3 hours so we really felt for a nice cup of coffee and cake at the new fantastic Nova Café. We just arrived as they called to let us know that everything works out and I don’t even need another foreign currency account to receive money from another account abroad!
We are surprised and delighted about this outcome 🙂
Thank you a thousand times Mrs. Patience!!!!!