Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wistful Banking

I am becoming a bit nostalgic for the banks of the past. I have been trying to buy a sofa online and neither my Turkish debit nor my UK credit card is acceptable to that giant multinational Ikea, so I've had to apply for a Turkish credit card which has meant several trips to the bank. I first went to ask if my debit card would be sufficient for the order.  Yes was the answer, so I transferred money into the account.  When it didn't work, I went back. The manager, after apologizing for the misinformation, then filled in a credit card application form for me.  The next day, there was a call from the bank to say that the form had been filled in incorrectly, so back I went. This was all conducted very politely in shiny steel and glass surroundings that make me feel as if I have stepped into a spaceship.
In my first life in Bodrum the value of the Lira dropped from 189 TL to £1  to 2,000,000TL to £1, so I always kept money in sterling. Any time I needed TL, I would nip to the Ak Bank in the centre of town, be greeted by all the cashiers, write out an English cheque, pass it over the counter and get my wads of cash.  No waiting for the cheque to clear, no charge for writing a cheque and no fee for transferring funds from the UK. Happy days.
Back in the present, while I was on my 4th trip to the bank I was amused to see that the traditional village method of carrying money is just the same. An old boy in a flat cap at the desk next to me was asking for 25, the cashier said he could only have 20.  I felt sorry for him as 20 TL is less than £7.  Then the money was counted out  -20,000TL. No briefcase or bag for him, he carefully wrapped the notes up in a newspaper, tied it with a piece of string from his pocket and tucked it under his arm.  I'm glad some things don't change.

Small change 


  1. It still surprises me to see people in banks with huge wads of notes in plastic bags.

    Hope you've managed to get your sofa by now!

  2. No, I haven't managed to order the sofa yet and steam is still coming out of my ears!!!!!

  3. It all sounds very frustrating... but with the changes, it seems amazing that carrying cash around like that remains the same.... Hope you get it sorted soon. J.

  4. Enjoying the blog Annie - this one brings back my memories of the banking system in the 80's. Dave and I went into Bodrum's Isbank to withdraw some money from our a/c, the cashier went over to the back of the room, and came back with our money which was stored in a shoebox. We maintained our composure until we got outside then fell about laughing.

  5. We carried 150,000 TL on the dolly when we moved our money from one bank to another. It was neatly stacked in our man bags. I felt like a bank robber and we both held onto the bags so tightly that our knuckles went white!

  6. When I think of bank robbers. you and Liam don't immediately spring to mind.

  7. . . so many bad experiences with banks here that we closed all our accounts with them and put up with the ATM charges but keep our sanity.

  8. It's such a shame Alan, going to the bank used to be a pleasure. If they'd spent the money on staff training instead of all the marble, granite, steel and glass in every branch- it still would be.

  9. Yeah still very much a cash society here. We always get stuck behind the guy at the cash machine who is putting in the week's takings and all we want to do is draw out 50 lira! :)

  10. I noticed that also in Turkey...they carry a lot of cash around...still the old cash system. Where I live if they notice you carrying out those amounts of cash for sure you will be mugged outside....before you get into your car in the parking lot.

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