Banks making it hard to take our money? Go figure!

We were setting up a business bank account today for our new online media venture and while we managed to make it happen today, it wasn’t without a bit of effort and some crazy uphill battles.

First up we figured we’d try ANZ as they’re promoting themselves for small businesses and have recently received an award for being best small business bank. They also have a reasonably good online banking system with mobile support, so we figured they were worth a go.

Sadly, they didn’t come through for us.

We weren’t getting great vibes in the branch as they guy setting us up wasn’t really engaging with us and didn’t really seem to have his act together as he worked through various notes & guide sheets. We managed to keep it flowing along and things seemed to be on track for getting us signed up when he dropped the clanger:

We needed to open the account with $500 in cash that had to stay in the account over night (but could be withdrawn the next day).

Excuse me? Where was that in the documentation? What are they on about wanting $500 to start and just for one night?

We’re a small, start-up biz with a very basic & primarily online operation. Neither of us had the liquid assets to be able to give ANZ $500 on the spot, even for just one night.

I tell the guy that this is a show stopper and we’re leaving. He takes copies of our paperwork in case we can come back and create the account with $500. He’s also going to check with his manager whether he can get the $500 requirement dropped for us. Unfortunately, he can’t get this answer in five minutes as he needs to email the request in (yes, emails, not a phone call). He’s got my mobile and will give me a call when he hears more.

Yeah, right – whatever. See ya.

So, we go over the road to our second choice bank – Bendigo Bank.

They weren’t first on the list as I’d been told their online system wasn’t as smooth & easy as the ANZ system (important to us as we do everything online & need freedom to work from where-ever we are). They also have a strange way of dealing with bank fees that wasn’t 100% clear through their paperwork. But, they’re still supposed to be as good as most banks so they were a very close second.

We were introduced to the manager and she worked us through what was required. The branch was in much better condition than ANZ, the feel was good and the interaction was more real – not a bureaucratic process with some lumps of meat as it felt like at ANZ.

We had all our paperwork but there was a linkage that wasn’t documented between our legal entity and the trading name. This was a blocker for Bendigo that needed to get resolved to proceed. DOH! Fortunately our accountant was pretty much next door so we were able to get sufficient information from them to tip things across the line and all was done.

So, we now have a business banking account and I think that, so far, we’re probably better off with Bendigo than ANZ. Certainly we have a couple more steps to meet for their online system (eg: use of physical security tokens/fobs) but we’re ahead on monthly fees and the interaction has so far been leaps ahead.

Bendigo certainly seemed more interested in getting our business than ANZ. I’m still surprised about the $500 initial deposit requirement – that was definitely out of left field and not what I expected from a bank that’s marketing itself as a “small business friendly” organisation.