ABN Amro: dat kan niet

On Friday I went to the local branch of ABN Amro (a bank) to open an account. It was 16:30 and almost empty, with plenty of idle employees. There were 2 people at the reception area and I spoke to one of them, a man. I explained the situation: I want to open an account just so that I can move my Australian money to the Netherlands and spend it here. I do not want an overdraft or a credit card or any kind of credit at all. I just need a Dutch PIN card so that I don’t have to pay cash for everything. I explained that I do not have a Dutch work contract, but that I am self-employed. I asked why it was necessary to have an employment contract in order to open a bank account, and he gave me the reason: there is a bi-monthly account keeping fee of €7.50 and they need to know that I will be capable of paying it.

After a bit of negotiation the man agreed that it would be possible to open an account, but as it was almost 17:00 (16:35) they were about to close, and the people who open accounts were not available. He made an appointment with me to see one of them on Monday at 15:00.

Today is Monday, and at 15:00 I arrived at the bank for my appointment. Naturally, there was no record of any appointment having been made, he had just faked it in the finest Dutch tradition. Luckily the lady at reception was in a good mood, and went to see if one of the account opening specialists was available. Within 30 seconds she came back out with such a specialist: the guy from Friday.

He took me to a desk and introduced me to his trainee, Sanje. He never introduced himself. I explained the situation again and produced every document that they asked for as I had come prepared. As I am officially a Dutch resident I produced my resident ID card as proof. He smiled and told me that it would be possible for me to open a non-residents’ account, and ‘went to his manager’ to confirm. Yes, it is possible for me to open such an account, with a minimum deposit of €25,000. I told him that I do not have that much money and he explained that there was nothing he could do for me.

As per every other visit to a bank, I asked what I would need in order to open a normal account. I got all the standard responses: sofinummer; proof of address; employment contract. I also got a new requirement: I had to have proof that I have residency for at least one year. This was his ‘dat kan niet’ ace, because he knew that I have only until April 1st, 2006.

Luckily I had come from the gym and had no aggression left, so I shook his hand and left without actually committing the murder that the voices were advising.

2 comments

  1. I hear you. I had the same frustrations here in the UK. It took me 8 weeks of going back and forth before I could finally get my first pay check.

    By the way Darryn, will you ring me! I haven’t heard from you since you left London.

  2. hahaa !!!! yep i had the same sort of dat kan niet with this bank…..

    but then to change my address.

    As i allready hhad a dutch bank account at this abn amro bank but was moving to norway i wanted to change my address.

    I needed in order to do that proof of that i was staying there.

    but i was moving to my new girlfriend i said i cant prove that?

    well then they couldnt move me.

    even though i had my passport with me to prove that i was me and my norwegian girlfrien with her passport and papers that proved that that was her address even that she owned the property on that address and she stating that i was going to live with her, that was not considered proof.

    I went to an other office of abn amro in a small town. within 5 minutes they changed my address………

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