Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Ah, success! After 5 trips and many hours of waiting, we now have a joint bank account. Today we apparently had all the proper paperwork in hand and thus got the green light to proceed. The young woman who waited on us spoke pretty good English but was certainly not chatty. She looked over the letter of reference from our US bank and my passport, asked a few questions and then disappeared. She was gone a long time, no explanation given.
When she returned, she said ok, we will need to complete some paperwork first, so take a seat. There was only one chair and I had made Don sit in it and talk to her, but now we traded places. Don had warned me that the questionairre took about an hour to fill out; he wasn't kidding. She filled out the double-sided form in long hand and asked amazing questions: did you go to high school or college? What is your degree? Do you work? How many children do you have? Are they dependents? How much time do you spend here? Do you own your home here? How much is it worth (land and house). Do you have a car? What is it worth? What is the license number? What is your monthly income? What is the source of that income? How much do you spend each month? Do you have any other Honduran bank accounts? Honduran credit cards?
What is the name of a personal reference here on Roatan? Address? Phone number? What is the name of a family member in the US? Address? Phone number? When I told her my dad's name was B. L. Parker, she wanted to know what the initials stood for and had me write down the spelling of his name. So I wrote Buron L. Parker, handed her the paper and said "that's why I told you B. L., it's just easier".
Whew! Don said that she had asked him if he was a fisherman! He doesn't know why she would ask that. I was hoping she would ask me; I guess I don't look like a fisherman. She had also asked Don how much money he would be depositing in this account monthly.
I cannot imagine why they need to know all of that. Well, they don't need to know, but why do they ask? Why do they care?
When she had finished filling out the form, she had the bank manager look over the form and approve it. Then she entered all that information into the computer. She entered my passport number at least 3 times. Don and I had to sign the form and 2 other papers, then she left again. She made copies of everything and attached my name and passport number to the inside of the bank book which is used for all transactions. And that was that. Once again the banking took 1-1/2 hours! But at least the bank is nicely air-conditioned and a great place to people watch.
We celebrated our success by having lunch at Nardo's, a neat little dockside restaurant right across the street. They serve amazing black Angus burgers, huge and yummy, and the best french fries on the island. (Ok, we don't eat healthfully all the time!). There was a cruise ship in port, visible from our table. Several passengers wandered back there to look around, none were brave enough to eat there.