YEREVAN, Armenia — A brief press conference by HSBC in Yerevan unveiled an optimistic forecast on the bank’s plans to improve services by 2020. HSBC’s new CEO Astrik Cliffold made the long-expected announcement to Armenian media: “We are now working on reforms which will allow us to stop treating citizens of Armenia like monkeys in the near future. We hope you understand that it gives us no pleasure to treat people like monkeys in the 21st century.. It is simply a technical issue which we strive to resolve by 2020.”
The press conference was the bank’s response to ongoing public disappointment and protest against the bank’s policy which among other preconditions, requires subscribers to do a so-called “monkey dance” in order to open a bank account at HSBC. In addition, the policy requires that clients perform the controversial dance when requesting a bank statement, or in the case that their account should reach a sum below 100,000AMD.
Minas Sahakyan – a 25-year client of the bank – states growing displeasure regarding the customary dance: “Well, I take no pride in having started a relationship with this bank.. 10 years ago as I had to open an account and this was the only international bank available,. I thought the “monkey dance” was just standard procedure.. But I went to Pro-Credit last week and it turns out that you don’t have to do the dance to open an account there, so I kinda feel awkward.. I might transfer my savings there now. Though I’m still rather attached to the dance..”
HSBC Marketing Director Mariam Whatsherfaceyan told ArmCom: “Don’t be ridiculous you guys. HSBC is like an expensive restaurant. It’s a time-honored tradition to make customers do the symbolic “monkey dance” which is not that complicated in the first place and is a mere technicality in general. We work very hard for this country and our staff needs to be entertained occasionally.”
“If some customers are not that satisfied, they are free to opt for banks with less asshole attitude but, on the other hand, smaller international prestige. However note that other banks in Armenia are less recognized internationally and don’t have our resources. By the way, you guys look retarded, and HSBC has special loans for retards at much lower interest rates. But you still need to do the technical “monkey dance”. But you look like you’ll really love it,” added Whatsherfaceyan.
Top finance expert of Armenia Tatul Manaseryan calls on Armenians to exercise moderation. Manasaryan believes that 2020 is a reasonable time to enforce a non-humiliating bank policy.
“Since HSBC subscribers have been used to the dance for over a decade, it will take time to renounce this policy. So 2020 is a well-thought-out time-line to gradually get out of the habit of treating customers like monkeys. Personally, I think HSBC could easily push it off to 2030,” said the expert.
Head of Central Bank of Armenia cheered the HSBC commitment. CB Chairman Arthur Javadyan told reporters: “We have discussed this with HSBC a few times and finally came to an agreement. Frankly, the incentive came from officials at the Central Bank who after a few visits to the US realized that doing a”monkey dance” to open an account is not really cool. My Chief of staff spent half of his monthly salary on a professional dance tutor before HSBC granted him an account.”
“So the reform will take place in three stages,” detailed Javadyan, “First, by 2015 HSBC clients will no longer be required to kiss the HSBC logo on the entrance mat when opening a bank account . Secondly, by 2018, there will be no need to tattoo one’s neck with “HSBC” to request a bank statement and thirdly, the controversial “monkey dance” will be swiftly written off by 2020. We really appreciate HSBC’s pro-customer reforms and hope they will come up with more of these pro-customer reforms in the future,” said Javadyan.
Additionally, an HSBC press release issued early this week, promises that by 2035, the Armenians will be relieved from the awkward task of having to kiss the Chief Accountant’s toes in order to make a wire transfer.