Sunday, October 18, 2009

Banking in London

We just finished day 4 in London and I am completely exhausted. We headed out around 11am this morning and didn't stop walking until almost 8pm tonight! I will post all of the details tomorrow including my new favourite market that we accidentally found!

In place of my London - day 4 post, I have a random story about banking in London to tell you. When we first decided to attempt to move to London in 2001, we opened up off shore bank accounts with Barclays. Thinking that I was all set, I emptied and closed my bank account with Royal Bank and arrived in London with a cheque in Canadian funds. Shortly after we arrived, I took the cheque to the local Barclays which processed it with no problems.

When a week or two went by and I still didn't see the money in the account, I followed up to realize that my cheque was mailed back to Canada where Royal Bank had to re-issue another cheque in British pounds and then mail it back to the local Barclays. Of course, nobody made us aware of this and there we were, just waiting. Thank goodness for credit cards! By the time, I finally received my money, approx. 2 months later, we had made the decision to go home. Since we could only take a certain amount of money out each day, we would visit different branches and stick all of the cash under the mattress. lol!

I also met with Nat West which helped me fill in my paperwork. Again, they had to mail the paperwork back to Vancouver to make sure that I was in good standing. Nobody back home responded and when they did, they claim that they didn't have any information on me. It was so infurating!

I am happy to announce that we have now successfully opened up a bank account with Lloyds TSB that has just opened up a branch in Toronto. With their new location, this will hopefully make it easier for Canadians to open up a bank account. We still had to gather all of the paperwork and pay to have it notorized, but it was worth it. I know that it just wasn't us. Various forums online also show all the problems others have had.

For those interested in setting up an account with Lloyds, read about the entire process here. An 'apply now' button can be found on the top right hand side.

Jet lag update: I have adjusted! I slept through the evening and didn't wake up once until just after 10am!

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