New day – old bank. The quest to make new Banking arrangements continues for our Šárka Valley Community Church. Hopefully making real progress to open a new account, we decide the time has come to close the old account with ČSOB – my personal motto for them is “the bank that likes to say no.” We fully understand closing an account with them can be difficult. Former colleagues who spent time at IBTS years ago had accounts with them and when they returned to their homes in other countries, despite having gone into the bank and signed forms to close the account, statements continue arriving, wracking up the monthly charge for managing the accounts they tried to close.
So, we enter in trepidation! Studying the Queue-o-matic machine we press the buttons and are given number 602. This is a bit disconcerting as the signs show that customer 94 is being dealt with There are seven booths with employees of the bank sat there, but only one appears to be active. After 35 minutes a female bank clerk who had been studying some paper intently pressed her button and 602 began to flash, so we went to disturb her afternoon of stillness. We knew the routine – account number card; my EU permanent residency card, my colleagues’ CR Identity Card. It’s an account needing two signatures in conformity with normal Czech practice. For ten years we have jointly signed all documentation for withdrawals and transfers. Out come the forms from the bank clerk who remains stone-faced throughout. Petra, my colleague, prepares to sign- ah, no. Only kazatel (pastor) Jones should sign. We were both totally surprised. Surely both of us should sign to close this joint account ? No, it seems the kazatel has the power!
So, my good friend and Czech colleague expresses her despair and anger at ČSOB and their approach. I comment en passant, what else can one expect in the land of the good soldier Švejk and Franz Kafka. Two of us opened this account, have signed all documents for ten years, but now with a flourish of my pen I can close the account and transfer the funds to where I want. In an atmosphere of stony silence we complete the paperwork and recover our identity cards. We exit with what dignity we can muster. We hope never to cross the threshold again, but who can say. On the evidence of bank statements arriving for our former colleagues it is almost an impossibility to close an account with ČSOB.