Sunday, May 3, 2009

Infuriating--and Heartening

I am a man of considerable equanimity, I think, especially as I have gotten older and more acclimated to the vagaries of the world in which we live. Most irritations are like water off a duck's back to me.

However, my bank, my Korean bank, the only readily available source for me of the funding so necessary for modern life, has really, really pissed me off. Without one single word of warning, they shut down at midnight Thursday night and will not reopen until Monday morning.

Now, I'm not talking about the branches being closed, though of course they are, I'm talking about the entire system being shut down. No way to access your accounts. Want to pay for your dinner with your Hana Bank card? Nope, can't do it. Want to pick up a few items at E-Mart? Nuh-uh, the card won't work. Suppose you want to withdraw a hundred bucks--or even ten bucks--from a bank machine anywhere on the planet, or right down the street? You are SOL. What about a Hana Bank ATM? Nada.

It is absolutely infuriating. Not to mention bizarre, unacceptable, ridiculous, pathetic, stupid and, uh, infuriating. I squandered most of what precious cash I had (not knowing how precious it was), Friday night after treating myself to fried ChickenMania after a week of working out and calorie counting. My bank card was refused, something that shouldn't happen, as there is plenty of money in my account.

This has happened a couple of times before, though going to a different POS has enabled the card to be read. Well, this morning, I tried any and all ATMs and every Hana Bank I could get to with similar, infuriating, results. That's HANA BANK, in case you missed it.

I am pleased to say, though, that my friends in Korea turned out to be true friends! Money is without a doubt the touchiest issue in most relationships, but each of the three friends I spoke to while trying to figure out what was going on, offered to lend me money without my even bringing it up! Koreans and waygookin!

Of course, they know I'm good for it, but that's not the point. Anyway, thanks to my friends, the crisis is averted (I had W4000 total cash--about USD 3.00) so starvation and beerlessness is off the table. Any question of whether I have done okay by moving here is answered by that fact!

Lessons learned, however. One: keep one hundred thousand won (~USD 100) in cash secreted somewhere in the apartment for emergencies; two: open a second account at another bank so I am not dependent on capricious rules or bizarre closings of Hana Bank. That's Hana Bank.


Tuttle said...

Uh, I might have missed it the first time: what bank is that?

Tuttle said...


Tuttle said...

Hana Bank, you say?

Tuttle said...


Anonymous said...

I received half a dozen notifying emails and text messages from Hana Bank well in advance.

Guess they didn't notify you?

nick said...

I'm a Hana Bank customer, and I do think it's ridiculous that in 2009 a bank would need to completely shut down for 4 days, but to be fair the bank did give plenty of advanced warning that this was coming. I received text messages and emails about it. The information was also on the front page of their web site and there were signs posted in every Hana Bank branch in Korea.

Tuttle said...

They have my email and phone number, but didn't send me jack. Any message on the doors was in Korean, as is their webpage.

Anonymous said...

There was a recent, much publicized hacking incident at Hana Bank. So that's the probable reason for Hana to do a very expensive complete system overhaul during this 5-day holiday.

Hana is a good upper-end bank. (Kinda uppity, almost.) But if you want to switch, Shinhan is a pretty good alternative.

Charles Montgomery said...


my girlfriend was flying to meet me in Tokyo and went to the bank to get her money (including the money to get her in/out stamp) and had the same experience.

Luckily she also had the same experience with her Korean friends who loaned her 700,000 won for the trip.

Like Mr. Seoul P, her bank never contacted her by phone, mail or email.

And, really, shutting a bank down for 4 days.

How lame is that?