Take my money, please!

We have now been in Chile for over a month. We have our house, which is still largely unfurnished as we await the arrival of our stuff from the U.S.. We have our cat and dog (and soon will have a partial refund from Delta after the airline forgot to send the cat’s health certificate, resulting in quite the adventure at the airport cargo terminal). We have our cédulas. We have our sporty “new” car, a 2004 Kia Carnival, which we (or, more accurately, my wife) bought from the conveniently-large family whose house we are renting. The kids started the fall term at their new school. And I started my new job.

One thing we do not have yet–a Chilean bank account.

In the U.S., we have an account at a big (but not mega-huge-bring-down-the-world-economy-if-it-fails) bank. Customer service can be a pain at times, though generally is acceptable. But I have NEVER had a problem convincing the bank to take my money. In Chile, on the other hand…

For reasons that don’t really matter right now, I need to open a “business” account. Keep in mind, I am not applying for a loan or anything; I just want a cuenta corriente, or checking account. A Chilean lawyer who has been helping me with the move here contacted one of the big banks in Santiago that he routinely works with and provided all of the necessary legal documents, including my Chilean tax ID number. That was back in mid-January. Since then, I have been asked to provide information about how much I anticipate earning each month, and then asked for further detail about my “business plan,” including a breakdown of various expenses–virtually none of which were applicable to my situation. So, here we are in mid-March, two months later, and I just followed up this last week with the bank employee who has been handling my application. He informed me that he was still having trouble moving things forward.

The bank’s motto is “somos diferentes” (“we’re different”). From what I have gathered so far, however, this experience is not atypical here, regardless of bank. I don’t really understand why that is the case, but I would like to learn more.

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