Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The ABC's of work for P, J and B.

P. and J., two men from Eastern Europe, have just left for England after only being here in Zurich for a few months.  They hope to find employment 'across the Channel' after an unsuccessful hunt here in German Switzerland.  I had thought that they were keen on trying to settle here, but, given both their inability to speak any of the four official languages of Switzerland and the fact that this country is not part of the European Union, it would seem that their chances of becoming financially solvent in Switzerland were slim.  P., fairly adept at simple communication in English, has contacts in the UK, so it made sense for him to relocate.  J., P's friendly compadre, speaks no English.  May they land on their feet in Great Britain and may J. learn English as quickly as he is able.

B. came in yesterday to speak with a counselor, then made his way over to the 'boutique' to say hello to me and my work mate.  B. has just found employment and needs to set up a bank account in order to collect his paycheck.  Actual checks have gone the way of the dodo, and all financial transactions would appear to be done via electronic transfer, or, what we would call back home, direct deposit.  My colleague and I pondered over what might be the best banking institution for him to open an account with.  Raiffeisen, the third-largest bank in CH, was selected as my colleague thought that they would be more personable and amendable to potential customers with quite modest funds than say, UBS or Credit Suisse.  We phoned Raiffeisen to ask if there were an outpost either close to where B. lives, or close to the main train station.  B. is a citizen of an EU-member nation, so we erroneously thought that all he had to do in order to open his account was show proof of employment, and, of course, his passport.  -turns out that Raiffeisen makes the stipulation that only those possessing German skills are able to open an account.  Hmmm.  CH has four official languages and B. speaks one of them, but not German.  Would Italians be denied opening accounts at Raiffeisen, too?  And what if French Swiss came to do banking here in ZH?  Would there be no one at the Limmatstrasse Raiffeisen branch who could speak to them?  Oh, and, B. speaks English.  Apparently, English skills aren't helpful either, or so it would seem.

After my colleague pressed the bank employee a bit more, it was determined that B. should make his way to this particular Raiffeisen branch in order to speak with him as soon as possible.  What's the Swiss German translation for 'we'll see what we can do'?.  I'm hopeful that B. will be able to open an account soon.


  1. Good thing ich kann ein wenig Deutsch sprechen then :3

    1. Ja, das ist ein sehr gutes Ding! :D

  2. That is so unusual for a bank to have such "rules". Hoping things work out for these 3 guys.


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