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Why CIMB bank hates some countries?

Hello,


I am a foreigner living in Changlon, Kedah, Malaysia.  I am on the student visa.

I recently contacted CIMB Changlon branch to open a bank account. I was told blank in the face that customers from your country are not welcome here due to "economic reasons". I was furious to hear that. I insisted to submit my application anyway in spite of the staff told me that chances of the application being accepted are very low. After 14 days, they called me and informed that the application has been rejected by the head office in KL. I don't trust that because I personally know many students from my country have accounts with CIMB Changlon and with CIMB anywhere else in Malaysia.

I shot an email to the complaint center of CIMB. So far no response. In the mean time, a friend of mine, from my country, was able to open his account with CIMB in KL just in a day. That further supports my doubt that the problem appears to be with the Changlon branch.

In fact, I feel that I am facing discrimination based on my nationality. But I don't know what to do now.

Any suggestions?

Contact branch manager instead of teller and explain your case earlier . If still doesn't workout.contact help line and complaint on the branch and the person who denied Ur application without reason.

The solution is usually very simple. Ask your university which bank they have an agreement with to open bank accounts for their students..... You need an introduction letter.

You have to understand that racism in Malaysia is very high, and mostly the local tends to have very bad behavior not only toward foreigner but also among them selves. I advice you to avoid any tiny controversial because it will lead you to depression and stress. Furthermore, I advice you to try with other banks such as: MAYbank, RHB...etc.
If you need any help just message me.
My best regards,
Sam

I've never had problems opening local accounts here. I opened one with CIMB in Bukit Bintang and met with the Manager who was most helpful in assisting me to open the account.

I also have opened Maybank accounts at Bukit Bintang and Central Market branches also without problems.

Ambank in Bangsar was really nice and friendly and I could use Whatsapp to give my instructions to my Account Manager and the supervisor gave me her card and personal number. The staff were also always friendly when I entered the bank.

I tried to open some fixed deposit accounts with RHB but they told me I needed to be Malaysian, so I couldn't open any. But my car loan was through them.

But I personally have never experienced racism from any banks here. Maybe I made a good impression with them. Perhaps you should try other local banks or different branches of CIMB.

You could also try HSBC as many foreigners have accounts with them.

Sue the bank on racial grounds

" I don't trust that because I personally know many students from my country have accounts with CIMB Changlon and with CIMB anywhere else in Malaysia. "

So it's  not racial discrimination is it?

Of course. I submitted all letters from the university.

Honestly, I feel that's not a solution either. I believe that if I am not doing anything illegal or asking for illegal services, I should be allowed to open a bank account with CIMB, regardless of what bank my university has contracted with. It would be only wrong if CIMB had a clear public policy to not to open bank accounts for individuals from such and such countries.  Apparently, I cannot find that anywhere. At the same time, I keep on finding that foreigners are able to open accounts with other branches of CIMB.

It is a racial discrimination in that particular CIMB branch. Students from other countries are able to open their accounts but no me, based on my nationality. What else is a racial discrimination?

Perhaps there is a quota system to spread the student accounts between more than one bank.  What does the university say?

No point moaning about it here. Racism to different degrees exists in every country in the world, but I doubt very much that a branch of CIMB is racist against you. We don't know your credit rating or how you look or how you speak with them. There could be a lot of factors affecting their decision and the answer given by the staff might have not been accurate.

So I suggest you open at a different branch or different bank and get on with your life. I mean don't waste your time and effort over this, just move on.

abdulkhalil :

No point moaning about it here. Racism to different degrees exists in every country in the world, but I doubt very much that a branch of CIMB is racist against you. We don't know your credit rating or how you look or how you speak with them. There could be a lot of factors affecting their decision and the answer given by the staff might have not been accurate.

So I suggest you open at a different branch or different bank and get on with your life. I mean don't waste your time and effort over this, just move on.

Lolx @credit rating. You gotta be kidding. Of course, a foreigner new to Malaysia has no credit rating to show. But perhaps you don't even know credit rating is to offer customers CREDIT, not to accept their deposits.

Let's just take your point of not having credit ratings, are you saying that another branch of the same bank will not require my credit rating?

And it's so funny that you are saying that you don't know HOW YOU TALKED TO THEM....I guess I will just ignore your response. Better said nothing here.

Guess they saw a troublemaker coming and closed their doors LOL

Try CIMB in another location and see if it happens again.  You are fairly close to Alor Setar.

If it does...then maybe it's not the bank.

Actually the hardest group to open bank accounts are Americans, it has nothing to do with racism but US law requiring the bank to report all holdings to the IRS annually on all American accounts. You don't say what your country is, thus that makes this question a guessing game for the most part. It took me over three months to open my account. I just kept getting paychecks which I couldn't cash. I was doing some part time consulting before and was refused a bank account, thus I was paid via my wife's checking account. At that point I was working for a division of the Prime Minister's office, but wasn't allowed to open a bank account.

Opening bank accounts aren't always easy here, esp for some nationalities. I had someone that wanted to sell me some CIMB unit trust shares, once he found out I was American end of discussion. He could sell to anyone EXCEPT Americans.

I understand that. I 'm sure it must be hardest for Americans. However, my country does not require such actions. We can open bank accounts anywhere in the world with no prior or post process of informing to my country.

I don't have a car thus I cannot go beyond Changlon for everyday transactions and bank services.

You could open a branch somewhere else, and then do all your transactions at the branch nearest to where you live. Come on....!

You also said earlier on that your fellow countrymen have managed to open accounts at that branch. If that is the case, the rejection might not be racist, it might only be against you personally.

abdulkhalil :

You could open a branch somewhere else, and then do all your transactions at the branch nearest to where you live. Come on....!

You also said earlier on that your fellow countrymen have managed to open accounts at that branch. If that is the case, the rejection might not be racist, it might only be against you personally.

I guess you are assuming too much. I think you don't understand the dynamics of Changlon and the kinds of foreigners who live around Changlon.

My countrymen were able to open the bank accounts at the branch in the past, not anymore. In fact, I came to know this particular branch of CIMB is turning away almost every foreigner.  However, they can still open accounts in other banks, which I will also do. I never said I will not do that.

So open it in another branch and then do your everyday banking at the Changion branch. Problem solved.

.... Or use the Post Office (POS)

This is beginning to sound like the spoilt brat syndrome with a pinch of entitlement.

Why take to a Forum (as if it is going to make any difference to the situation or the outcome).

Abdusame Berish :

You have to understand that racism in Malaysia is very high, and mostly the local tends to have very bad behavior not only toward foreigner but also among them selves. I advice you to avoid any tiny controversial because it will lead you to depression and stress. Furthermore, I advice you to try with other banks such as: MAYbank, RHB...etc.
If you need any help just message me.
My best regards,
Sam

Tell me about this! I am on MM2H and have been unable to open an account for my wife yet and gave up after 3 months of trying several banks. CIMB and Maybank demanded an opening deposit of 300k for a simple savings account! The case with CIMB was particularly crazy since I am already a preferred customer there and know British and Japanese people on MM2H who haven't had problems opening second accounts with them so the discrimination is clearly based on nationality. They haven't even bothered providing me the preferred card as well though I have a preferred account and keep generating one excuse after another.

HSBC in Kuching was easily my worst experience ever where I was actually chased out of the premier centre since they didn't believe an Indian would be premier and they passed quite a lot of non-complimentary comments in Malay (which I can somewhat understand) once they figured out that I was indeed premier. And, being in finance research, I have held long respectful conversations with senior central bankers from highly developed countries so it was really quite crazy to see someone so low down the heirarchy behave this way towards me.

OCBC has been by far the best so far and I was never made to feel unwelcome even though most of the bank's employees are of different races. I have been moving my business to them.

I can go on with a lot more stories but, except for my wife's account, have settled all the bank business I need so I can do it all online anyway.

Given that the government provides MM2H in order to attract investment. this behavior is pretty absurd. Needless to say, I will think a lot before I would even consider investing more than a basic sum in Malaysia.

Surprisingly, the MM2H service from the govt has been exemplary and courteous in every way so they are serious about it but their goals are clearly being held back by the banks.

I never had problems with any banks in Malaysia although HSBC often make mistakes. Other banks such as CIMB, Maybank and Ambank have always been great. I think HSBC is getting worse these days, certainly in Malaysia. In the UK they are still good. As for racism with all these banks, I think lots of local Indians have accounts with them.

It's weird to hear about an HSBC Premier branch literally throwing you out of the bank because they didn't believe you could possibly be a Premier customer. Usually just by showing your premier credit card or debit card or giving your passport number is enough to verify who you are. I have found Premier Centres everywhere to always be polite.

However, my kids in France, when they were students, did get thrown out of the HSBC Champs-Elysees branch because they looked like scruffy students. The staff that did it was incredibly arrogant so I called the hotline to make a complaint. They only had normal HSBC accounts from the UK at the time and I was trying to send them some money. Later I gave them Premier Supplementary cards and that made a big difference and they never had problems again.

But I think by just proving that you are a Premier customer is enough so it is difficult to believe you got thrown out for nothing. Perhaps attitude has something to do with it. Were you angry or aggressive to them?

abdulkhalil :

I never had problems with any banks in Malaysia although HSBC often make mistakes. Other banks such as CIMB, Maybank and Ambank have always been great. I think HSBC is getting worse these days, certainly in Malaysia. In the UK they are still good. As for racism with all these banks, I think lots of local Indians have accounts with them.

It's weird to hear about an HSBC Premier branch literally throwing you out of the bank because they didn't believe you could possibly be a Premier customer. Usually just by showing your premier credit card or debit card or giving your passport number is enough to verify who you are. I have found Premier Centres everywhere to always be polite.

However, my kids in France, when they were students, did get thrown out of the HSBC Champs-Elysees branch because they looked like scruffy students. The staff that did it was incredibly arrogant so I called the hotline to make a complaint. They only had normal HSBC accounts from the UK at the time and I was trying to send them some money. Later I gave them Premier Supplementary cards and that made a big difference and they never had problems again.

But I think by just proving that you are a Premier customer is enough so it is difficult to believe you got thrown out for nothing. Perhaps attitude has something to do with it. Were you angry or aggressive to them?

Well, that is how it happened. Essentially I was walked out of the center when I couldn't find anyone in there and went to the coffee machine when a bank officer suddenly appeared and demanded what I was doing there (same thing happened on my next visit - there must be a proximity sensor for the coffee machine!) and walked me out before examining my premier card.

This is hardly the only incident - I have been escorted more politely out of the HSBC Bukit Bintang premier center and into the general area after they gave me my coffee on the excuse that there wasn't any space while it was less than half full after a few pointed questions about why I had come there and not to my usual branch (the Masjid Jamek one which is actually pretty good). The officer went on to try and sell life insurance to a retired person despite my informing her that I had taught insurance at the masters level in on of the top 10 universities for finance in Asia. :) For incompetence though, this pales with the officer I got in HSBC Kota Kinabalu who enrolled me in autopay on a credit card that, for some reason, never got activated (though he was quite polite)! I can go on and on as can my wife but the level of both utter incompetence and rudeness is quite amazing. For example, it took HSBC over a year to figure out that I can deposit upto RM 30,000 per day in cash rather than just RM 10,000.

I never had any such issues with the HSBC premier centers in HK, Singapore etc. and I have interacted quite well with people quite high up in HSBC and other banks as well as central bankers so I can't see how attitude is the issue. Perhaps it is because I am usually dressed in cargo pants and T-shirt? But this is how I was always dressed in HK or, for that matter, the same way I am dressed when I go to OCBC where I am always treated well.

Quite amazing.

I know both the Bukit Bintang and the Leboh Ampang (the one at Masjid Jamek) Premier Centres really well and  they have always been so friendly, offering me coffee and cookies. I have never experienced bad attitude. In fact they recognize me and are always so welcoming.

If you were being kicked out of HSBC Premier Centres then why didn't you call your Account Manager and let them speak with the people throwing you out? Are you saying they didn't believe that an Indian can be a premier customer? Why did you let them throw you out? It takes two seconds to whip out a Premier card as proof. Did you do something to piss them off?

In Bukit Bintang, as I said they escorted me out while acknowledging that I was a premier customer on the flimsy excuse of lack of space because I think they didn't want me being seen there for some reason. ;) So, they did believe and know that I was a premier customer. That other more extreme incident was in Kuching. I haven't had a problem at Leboh Ampang except a couple of incompetencies (allowing just RM 10,000 cash deposits per day into my account rather than RM 30,000, not handling a card which didn't get properly activated) and a refusal to open an account for my wife with less than RM 30,000 which the relationship manager said was due to BNM regulations which is obviously not the case since I have an account with just RM 1,000 at Muamalat (one of the better ones for service IMO).

Those earlier visits where when I was still working in HK and was extremely busy setting up the move to Malaysia and so I didn't have time to go around complaining to people here. Given that the HSBC RM basically lied to me about BNM regulations after my move to Malaysia doesn't give me any confidence in his handling other stuff and, frankly, I think it looks petty to complain about such things. The best bet is to take my business elsewhere.

I regularly used HSBC premier centers in HK for several years and Singapore a few times with no issues ever while behaving in exactly the same way so it is a Malaysia specific problem.

The only thing I can think about is my profile is slightly unusual - an Indian MM2H holder (not many of those) who is retired in his early 40s. Why that should matter I don't know especially since it is not a problem for HK, Singapore, my US brokers etc.

A wife doesn't qualify to open a Premier Account just because she is your wife and holds MM2H. But she can open a joint account.

Depositing RM30,000 or even RM10,000 per day into a personal savings account is suspicious for a 40 year old since MM2H holders below 55 years of age are not supposed to work. Perhaps they are suspicious about where the money is coming from?

If I were you, I would transfer all your HSBC savings and deposits to a local bank quickly.

Now that I recall, the MM2H does seem to play a part as it was a common excuse given for difficulty in opening accounts (it took me a long while to find a bank that would open an account for me after HSBC which was arranged through HK). The interesting thing is that this difficulty doesn't apply to the British and Japanese people I know on MM2H. Pretty amazing really.

abdulkhalil :

A wife doesn't qualify to open a Premier Account just because she is your wife and holds MM2H. But she can open a joint account.

Depositing RM30,000 or even RM10,000 per day into a personal savings account is suspicious for a 40 year old since MM2H holders below 55 years of age are not supposed to work. Perhaps they are suspicious about where the money is coming from?

If I were you, I would transfer all your HSBC savings and deposits to a local bank quickly.

I know many 40 or even 30 year olds who are multi-millionaires. Like I said, the banks have little issue with British or Japanese MM2H holders which really gives the game away.

MM2H holders are definitely allowed to work outside MY. I am not sure there is any place in Malaysia I can practice my profession properly anyway so that point is moot.

HSBC were well aware of my salary in HK since they approved credit cards with total limits of RM300,000 for me quite early on (didn't get activated properly but that is another matter). RM 30k is really not that much internationally (not even US$10k) and RM 10k is utter peanuts in HK or any developed place for that matter. I had to use cash since the FX rates provided by HSBC were terrible forcing me to use money-changers (my broker would deal with Brazilian reals, Indian rupees, CNH etc. apart from the majors but not MYR and I am not surprised as they are very professional and probably wouldn't want to deal with the Malaysian banking system).

However, the cash deposits do not explain the behavior with CIMB or Maybank who demanded RM 200k and RM 300k respectively as initial deposits to open a standard savings account for my wife as I never cash deposited anything beyond a couple of thousand ringgit with them (and also as to why CIMB still hasn't provided me a preferred card). Also, we were only looking to open a standard account for my wife, not a premier one so I don't know where you got that idea. I am still amazed that we had to finally give up opening a simple bank account for her here in the end after running around so many banks. I have never even heard of that happening in Nepal or Bangladesh or other so called less developed countries.

I was using the HSBC premier centers in HK for several years before and have used their centers in SG with no problem even without an account in SG and never had an issue so this is definitely a Malaysia specific one. The fact that it affects CIMB, Maybank etc. and does not affect British and Japanese people in the same situation adds credence to that point.

I am forced to forever deal with HSBC unfortunately as one can't change the bank for the initial MM2H fixed deposit. Luckily, OCBC does seem to be somewhat professional and my wife might finally be able to open a bank account here with them when she returns from her trip.

Seems like you need to have a face to face talk with your Premier, Privilege and Priority Managers in each of the banks to understand exactly why they hate you and your wife. Moaning about it here won't help you. And seriously, if I were you, I would transfer all my funds out of HSBC to local banks and just leave your  MM2H FD there, or try to place an equal amount in another bank as MM2H FD and try to get your HSBC one back.

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