It seems like most would rather bash me rather than respond like professionals. I thought things were done differently here. I won’t 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.