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Citibank and Gambling
I have had my main bank account with the American giant financial organization Citibank for thirty years, but have spent more than half that time abroad and had very little contact with them, which suited both me and, I think, them perfectly. Anyway, whatever, Citibank never gave me cause for complaint, and indeed, allowed me to keep my account even after they found out that I had moved abroad to live (which my three British banks did not).
That happy situation lasted until a week ago.
We have moved back to the UK, so one of the first things my Thai wife wanted to do after hearing about it, was try her luck at the National Lottery.
Unfortunately, she only heard about it when we had arrived home and were fifteen minutes walk from the the nearest shop we could buy a ticket.
Still, undeterred, I knew that we could buy our national lottery tickets online, so I tried that.
However, the National Lottery kept reporting that an error was being generated by Citibank, so, with thirty minutes to go, I contacted them by phone.
The young American gentleman was very polite and seemingly desperate to resolve my problem, but time was ticking on.
“All sorted out, sir”, he told me and I rang off.
However, nothing had changed, so, I had to phone back. Miraculously, I got the same person and he remembered me.
“I’m sorry about this, sir”, he said, “but I can resolve this payment problem by entering the transaction manually. One second… whom are you trying to send the money to?”
“The National Lottery”, I replied.
“Oh,” he said sheepishly, “then that is the problem”.
“What is?” I asked bewildered.
“Citibank does not condone gambling…”
“I’m not asking Citibank to gamble”, I said. “I just want to use MY money in MY country to buy a lottery ticket in THE NATIONAL LOTTERY that was established by OUR democratically elected government!”
“Yes, I understand”, he replied, “but I cannot sanction the transfer. Sorry…”
“You (expletive) what?” I asked as pointedly as I could.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I am offended by strong language…”
“I don’t give a shit what you are offended by!” I blurted out. “What offends me is private American companies coming over here imposing their morality on us! It’s like bloody Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria but without the violence! Be a small-minded prick in your own country, but don’t think you can go abroad and preach your crap!
“Perhaps your high and mighty bank should have learned this lesson before they went gambling on sub-prime mortgages with their clients’ money! Bloody hypocrites!”
“I understand”, he said rather forlorn.
“Expect my account to be closed within the week!” I promised.
We parted company, and I will never give American companies the benefit of the doubt again – an alternative from any country will get preference from now on – especially where Citigroup and Citibank is concerned.
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Podcast: Citibank and Gambling