Final Complications

My last official act was to close out my university bank account. I would have just withdrawn my balance and let it go but Zsuzsa insisted that I needed to close my account as part of my check-out from the university. My bank is on the university campus and all university staff have accounts where salaries are directly deposited and bank statements are sent to college e-mail.

Zsuzsa did the translation and I could tell right away things weren’t going as planned. Bank managers were called both in person and on the phone. It seems that you can’t close your account if it has been active in the last 30 days. Even if I hadn’t been withdrawing money like crazy while traveling with Leigh & Dennis my last pay check was deposited in June.

The solution was for me to authorize Zsuzsa to close my account. In a truly Hungarian manner a handwritten document was composed on the spot with Zsuzsa and the bank clerk struggling over the correct wording. Hungarian really is a difficult language even for Hungarians. The document included my birthday, passport number, Zsuzsa’s birthday and her bank account number and of course I have no idea what else. The handwritten document was xeroxed and I signed 2 or 3 copies of the document each one was signed twice.

I’m not the only exchange faculty at the university and it seemed so odd that they didn’t dive in to the file drawer and pull out the correct fill in the blank form. Almost as quaint as when the bank clerk used pen and paper rather than a calculator for my final balance.

After deactivating my debit card the bank clerk calculated all the fees I will incur for maintaining the account I am not allowed to close. It took almost two hours but I was given my cash and I bid farewell to Hungarian bureaucracy.


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