Banking in Guatemala

I've been spending a lot of time at the bank. We have a cash float which we use to buy gifts that are sent from Canada for sponsor children and then submit our receipts to balance our float. Lately, the gifts have been huge - building a house for example. So our float is always empty and I'm always going to the bank to cash cheques.

Yesterday, I waited in line outside for 30 minutes and then another 10 minutes inside. The guy ahead of me had a gym bag that he hoisted up onto the counter when it was his turn. He proceeded to hand bags of change (mostly 1 quetzal coins - equivalent to CAN$0.16) which was then counted and deposited. This took a while. Fortunately there were two tellers.

Last Friday at the BANCO AGROMERCANTIL there was an old farmer ahead of me with a deposit slip. I glanced at it and it had Q14 or $2.16.

This morning I waited in line for 30 minutes in a larger bank, BANRURAL, to make a deposit into our notary public/lawyer's account. The tellers, receptionists and loans officer seemed to have their own little activities while the rest of us waited. And there were a lot of us.

When the ATM in Tactic is empty, it's empty for days at a time.

If you have a cheque from say the Banco Industrial, you are only permitted to cash that cheque at a BANCO INDUSTRIAL. You can not just deposit the cheque into your Banco Agromercantil account. You have to cash it at the BI, then go to your own bank. You can see long lines of people on Friday afternoons waiting to cash their weekly or monthly cheques. This is also how we pay our electric bills.

As an aside, I just spent $4.63 to courier a package 4 hours away overnight to Guatemala City. To do an overnight courier in Canada it cost me $27.13 from Kamloops to Calgary.


Sirdar said...

That is pretty funny. I like the only ATM in Tactic comment. I hate standing in line at a bank. There could be 100 people in the line up and two tellers. I rarely go to a bank since we now have a virtual bank that has no branches.

Zaak said...

I love online banking. I still do it for my Canadian account.

I just wish I didn't have to use cash so much here.
-largest bill is Q100 = $16CDN
-hardly anyone takes VISA or Interac
-the cash is filthy, really really filthy