It seems like most would rather bash me rather than respond like professionals. I thought things were done differently here. I wont take the time to respond to individual posts but a lot of it was uncalled for. Why I have accounts at certain banks and why I wanted to bank with Shacom is besides the point and irrelevant. The questioned I raised was whether or not I was discriminated against. I was not the stereotypical angry foreigner and did not scream and shout to get my way quite the opposite. I spoke to the officer politely and they did give me the option to open a savings account before I had left the branch.
After further discussions with the branch manager, I stated I would like to know more about their policies should I decide to bank with them. I was told by the BM that the bank will open savings accounts for anyone whether you have a HKID or not (with the exception of those from a few countries). He stated that a savings account could simply be opened with a passport. I asked why I was refused to open a savings account initially when a current account was not an option and I was told that it was merely a misunderstanding and he would better train his staff to prevent a repeat of the incident. I asked more about the referral and other polices I was told that internal guidelines are in place and decisions are made on a case by case basis. What those guidelines are however is not clear.
My best guess is that the officer initially might have thought I am a National of a country that the bank does not open an account for although we will never really know. Obviously, no bank will admit to discrimination. They do however realize a mistake was made and they are rectifying it.
Yes, banks did require introductions in the 80s but that was 30 years ago and AFAIK, today, no bank in Hong Kong requires a reference from an existing client in order to open a mere deposit (savings account). Bear in mind that I was not applying for a credit facility of any kind. Even BOC has retracted on their 6 month no check rule. HSB has never imposed a restriction on my account from day 1.
I imagine that banks with such policies still in place still believe that Frank Abagnale can still kite checks and that Pan Am still flies planes. Lol.