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cupcake
08-10-2008, 20:01
yesterday I spent an hour in UniCredit Bank closing my account during the course of which I became aware that they had discussed my account details in depth with a junior member of the HR team of the company I have been working for. Not just basic details like address (which would be bad enough anyway), but details like balance, transaction details, investments etc.

I lost it and threatened legal action, but the staff were totally unconcerned and didn't apologise.

I asked to see the branch manager who was "in a meeting" (of course) and so I asked that she call me back after the meeting. It has been 28 hours and I have still to hear from her.

This ends a 10 month period with this bank which has been a catalogue of errors. I only stayed with them as my salary had to be paid to UniCredit through one of the salary card schemes. Their fees are high, and they actually charge you 100+ rubles for the privilege of closing your account as you have to withdraw the last amount from the cashier. (I had thought to withdraw everything but the last few rubles and kopeks from the ATM at no charge, then I was told I would then not be able to close the account.... go figure).

Anyway, my advice is avoid them like the plague! Unless you are looking for material for a new comedy movie.....

kapione
19-10-2008, 13:48
I do not know of a Russian bank that is NOT a nightmare to deal with.

If you get American express travellers cheques , participating Russian banks will charge you for what is to be a chargeless trasfer of funds.....

you prepay all charges as you buy them , but where are you Russia, normal rules do not apply here

urtapxe
19-10-2008, 21:01
they are still better than Citi.

why bother closing your account - leave it open with a kopeck in it for 100 years.

Albertina
19-10-2008, 22:13
they are still better than Citi.

why bother closing your account - leave it open with a kopeck in it for 100 years.

be careful... they might charge you an annual fee every year and the fines for not paying it... then you'd go as a delinquent to the Credit Bureau and won't get any credit. not to speak about the fees you'd need to pay after 100 years :yikes:

seriously, don't play with banks, it will backfire in ways you'd never imagine.

Albertina
19-10-2008, 22:14
According to research the best consumer-friendly bank is Alfa... (I'm not their employee!)

Ody
19-10-2008, 23:00
Agree with Albertina,
I has a similar situation with Raiff...
if in a few words...
I thought that my account was closed because all fees was paid and card was canceled in my presence... but through 4 month...surprise!!!! debts because of kopeiks.

glo-lis
19-10-2008, 23:07
Unicredit is one of the best in Moscow for service and products.
People in retail work hard and mistakes are possible everywhere.
I were an employee there and still use this bank for payments and cards, all are comfortable for me . You can trust me as after Unicredit I worked with French bank and now with USA and also I know good Russian system.
I could compare.

mjma
20-10-2008, 02:11
According to research the best consumer-friendly bank is Alfa... (I'm not their employee!)

I just spent a good chunk of my weekend dealing with Alfa's surly and incompetent staff. Here's my experience:

1. On the phone: After being refused access to my funds at the ATM, I called to see whether there is a daily withdrawal limit on my card (I had taken some cash out already to pay rent).

I was transferred no fewer than 5 times in this one call, all to the end of forcing me to set up a login and password their brilliant new "Alfa Konsultant" system. The first operator took the time to scold me for not having already subscribed to their latest brand of inanity. The call was eventually dropped around the 5th or 6th transfer.

Keep in mind that my inquiry was about as general as asking their business hours. Also keep in mind that I already have a login and password for a separate Internet banking platform ("Alfa Klik"); apparently they just feel I need another random series of letters and numbers to memorize.

I eventually called back and got someone halfway sane, she was able to answer my question without snarling or demanding any further paperwork. But she'll leave for a global bank soon enough.


2. At the branch: Their RUR-USD rate was 27.5 over the weekend, about 50-80 kopeks higher than any other banks I saw and in line with most street corner exchange points.

That doesn't matter though, because they had no dollars in the bank machines or at the counter. Same level of service as on the phone, a snarl ("There are no dollars. You can go somewhere else") and the general impression that my inconvenience was the highlight of the portly little cashier's week.

I plan to withdraw rubles tomorrow and hope a friend with an account at a (relatively) decent bank will exchange it for me.

mjma
20-10-2008, 13:01
BTW, I should clarify that I had in fact breached the daily withdrawal limit of 45k rubles, they were not barring me from taking money out altogether.

Hack
20-10-2008, 13:26
According to research the best consumer-friendly bank is Alfa... (I'm not their employee!)
Alfa bank is among the worst I opened an account there in 2003 transfered a large sum into Russia spent it over a year while I was in Moscow left $100 USD in the account and I just got a letter from them saying I owe them $800 USD in service charges 5 years later! I just paid the amount a few weeks ago and it was the biggest hassle I have ever dealt with I am now with Raiffiessen Bank and I have not had a problem except for crappy exchange rates sometimes.

kapione
20-10-2008, 14:19
Stay clear of Citi bank , you will be screwed blue if you do, and u wont get a kiss either

adamst56
20-10-2008, 16:52
I use Citi and I am pretty neutral on them. They have had issues but did eventually resolve them.
HSBC will be opening branches in Russia in December. If they hold to their global reputation they will have excellent customer service and all English speaking staff.

lifespree
20-10-2008, 17:16
HSBC will be opening branches in Russia in December. If they hold to their global reputation they will have excellent customer service and all English speaking staff.

As I've got an HSBC personal account in the UK, that sounds like it will be great but I've been here long enough to know that nothing's ever as simple as it could be! - bound to be some legalistic/taxation tripwire involved. Do you have any more details on the HSBC plans/proposed branches, etc? If they're opening in December, they've presumably got the site deals done already.

Ody
20-10-2008, 21:56
If they're opening in December, they've presumably got the site deals done already.

I don't think its reasonably right now
They're try to reduce expenses...

BeachBum
20-10-2008, 22:04
they are still better than Citi.

why bother closing your account - leave it open with a kopeck in it for 100 years.
Yeha CitiBank blows!!

buddha1000
28-06-2009, 15:59
Hey welcome to the bank owned by Italians and operated by Russians. Dude, its not this bank, its Moscow. Various State agencies know your size in underwear (apartment cleaner), alcohol consumption (your favourite barperson), your taste in coffee (the sweet smiley thing in Kofemania, or the not-so-sweet thing in Kofe Haus), health issues (friendly old - hic - doctor), and sexual preferences and performance (don't ask...). Assume everything is known, check your accounts very regularly, move cash rapidly, but don't worry about changing banks, it will be the same at the next one (save for the Italian dimension). Ciao !

trebor
28-06-2009, 16:33
Alfa bank is among the worst I opened an account there in 2003 transfered a large sum into Russia spent it over a year while I was in Moscow left $100 USD in the account and I just got a letter from them saying I owe them $800 USD in service charges 5 years later! I just paid the amount a few weeks ago and it was the biggest hassle I have ever dealt with I am now with Raiffiessen Bank and I have not had a problem except for crappy exchange rates sometimes.

I opened an account with Sberbank 4 years ago. I left 1000 euros in the account and haven't touched the account for the last 2 years.
I went back to check the account and update the passbook. I got about 30 euros interest.........................and a smile!