[Letter to the editor]Banking racismI have lived in Korea for seven years. I have two separate bank accounts: One that I have had for seven years that issued me a secured credit card, and the other, a savings account for which I have a credit card and an ATM card.
I moved this year and neither bank was very close to my new place of residence so I went with my Korean husband to Shinhan Bank.
What happened was humiliating and makes me wonder why I choose to stay in this country. I was denied a normal account solely on the basis that I have a white face, a foreign face. I was told I could have a bankbook but could only have access to my money if I went to the bank. After three months of monitoring my account they might (not would) issue a cash card. I am in the process of selling my house in America and had hoped to buy property or bring the money over to Korea. But what incentive do I have to bring any sizable sum of money to Korea? The banks have decided that foreigners should be inconvenienced and humiliated just to use their own money.
Many of us work during banking hours. How exactly are we supposed to get money out for day-to-day living? Are we to risk being robbed carrying large sums because we are not allowed even a cash card?
I have paid taxes, followed the law and I am treated like criminal ― I am not allowed access to my own money!
There is no legal reason for the banks to have such a policy. Several newspapers have run articles quoting several high-level government officials and there is no law prohibiting foreign nationals from getting most banking services. The policies are solely in the mindset of the banks and they reek of rank xenophobia and racism.
I never thought I would leave Korea but after the humiliation I have had to deal with at banks and at immigration in the past two years, I am trying hard to think of a reason why I should stay.
Edina A. Ramirez, Anyang, Gyeonggi