When you move to a new country you end up going through the hassle of shopping for a bank. The process could get bumpy and quite frustrating at times… and even more so in Lebanon.
Retail banking in Lebanon is so far behind compared to some of the countries I’ve lived in. I understand some of the reasons behind this but I sometimes really do feel we’re 20 or 30 years behind.
When I first moved here, I worked with one of the local banks so I naturally had a salary account with them. For a couple of reasons, I decided to open another bank account elsewhere and I did. Both experiences were horrible.
- At one of those banks I had to wait 2 weeks for my debit card to be delivered to me, and 1 week at the other bank.
- I was surprised to how limited their mobile apps and online banking were.
- Both banks gave me debit cards without a smart chip.
- Two weeks ago, I got a new debit card from the first bank (also without a smart chip), and in the past 2 weeks, my card didn’t work 3 times – twice on a weekend due to an error in the card.
- Every time I’d go to the branch closest to me, I was told I should go to my branch for some of the transactions, it’s like branches work as different banks.
Anyways, these were only a few of the issues I faced and I thought all banks were like this.
Recently, I had to cash a cheque at Bank Audi and I walked into a branch near my residence and paid attention to the friendly staff, the pamphlets, the marketing signages, etc. The teller was super friendly and helpful. I decided I should look into opening a bank account here. I took a number to meet with a personal banker, sat down with her and asked all the questions I needed to ask from my learning experiences from the other two banks. 15 minutes later I walked out of the bank, with a card that had all my account information on it including my IBAN and the swift code. I instantly had access to both online banking and the mobile app which allowed me to do a lot more than the previous banks. I was told my debit card would be ready in 2 days, and it was ready the very next day with a smart chip. Moreover, the branches work together as one bank. Plus, add Novo to the equation and you got me in heaven!
All this is basic 101 banking where I come from but from my Lebanese banking experiences, Bank Audi seems to outshine the rest!