It’s been a while since I switched banks and by now my bank identity card as well as my debit card should be ready. Having some money matters to arrange also I went to the bank.
You could say that my Malian bank is quite modern working with numbers. So I took a number and concluded that there were about 30 others ahead of me, with only one counter in use.
I sat down, and decided it was a good moment to clean up all files in my phone. About an hour later I was done with it and still there were about 10 to go.
Even though numbers are being used, every now and then people will enter the building heading straight to the counter, being helped instantly for reasons such as old age or being an important Muslim. Nobody, but me, seems to be annoyed with it.
An hour and 45 minutes have passed when my number lights up. The money matters are arranged within two minutes. For the cards I’ll have to see the bank manager I’m told.
If only I had known I would have visited him when waiting for my turn…
‘Monique, good to see you!’, the manager says with a smiling face when I enter his office.
‘Ah, the cards, well it turned out that we need your parents names to be able to make you the bank identity card. And for the debit card, we cannot give you one, because it is a company’s account and cards are only given to people, not to companies.’
I look at him in surprise, wondering why he didn’t give me a call weeks ago. I would have stepped by to write down the names of my parents, as I am doing now.
Telling him that I find it quite strange that I cannot have a debit card for the company’s bank account, I explain how it works in The Netherlands. That the card is connected to the company’s account and that it has the person’s name on it. He grabs the phone and dials all numbers available of helpdesk employees, nobody answering the calls.
‘You see, Monique, if you need help, they are just not there, in a meeting, out for lunch or having a day off’, he explains with a deep sigh. But, he’ll try again later and promises to give me a call.
‘You know, I’ve been waiting in line for almost two hours to make a deposit. For people like me, who have to run a company it’s really impossible to do that once or twice a week. Especially during the busy season, when I’ll have deposits and withdrawals to make on a regular basis, I will not have the time for such long bank visits’, I explain him, asking him why only one counter is open.
Sure enough the second counter employee is on holidays, but even if he had been there, the waiting would still have been around an hour and I’m not going to do that on a regular basis.
He nods, understanding the issue.
‘Monique, next time please come straight to my office and we’ll take care of it!’
Later that day I got a phone call, making me return to the bank manager to sign some papers. In a little while I’ll not only have my bank identity card, but also a debit card for the company’s account. And the privilege of not having to wait in line.
In Mali there’s always a solution!