A drug addict friend is on his way to recovery, has a job, and wants to open a bank acct. Right now I act as his bank, doling out to him $20 at every few days, so he's not tempted to blow his entire paycheque on a one-day binge of crack.
He wants to open an acct at HSBC, because that's where his boss has his acct. Since he lost his car, this would make it convenient to deposit the paycheque with his boss. Since he works long hours, he can only open the account on Saturdays.
Last Saturday I drove with him across town to the HSBC branch. The receptionist told us we needed an appointment to open an account, and the soonest would be four hours later. That got him pretty upset, because when he last asked a teller about opening an account, she had told him to just stop by when he had the time.
This week he asked me to call the bank to make the appointment. I looked up the bank's phone number, but found only 800-numbers. Finally I found a local number, called it, and was told the number was only for loans; I was given what seemed like another local number, but it turned out to be a call center.
The call center employee was surprised that I had to call her to make the local appointment. She called the branch on my behalf; after a while, she came back on the line, and told me she would now transfer my call to the local branch. The person taking the call apologized, saying the actual person taking appointments was busy, but she would take my name and number, and have that person call me back.
Unlike their marketing claims, HSBC definitely does not act like The World's Local Bank. We see the disconnect between their marketing department dreams and the on-the-ground delivery of service.
I sure am glad I bank with a credit union. They don't provide as many services as banks, but at least their phone numbers are local, there is rarely a lineup for tellers, and their staff recognize me by name.