Taiwanese Banks Against Minorities

I continue to receive emails off this old post (below in italics, with translation) asking me follow up. The main point I've been getting at is this: Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託) isn't putting in the effort to include all of the people located in Taiwan in the process of receiving credit cards or, for that matter, a complete portfolio of banking services. In fact, it seems Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託) is entrenched in a concept that requires discriminating against out-group individuals who are simply looking to receive a modicum of service. Taiwan's banks, generally speaking, seem to be rejecting anyone who doesn't look right in terms of race. In other words, if you don't look Taiwanese or Chinese, you're not likely to receive the full range of services afforded to people who are able to measure up. This comment is not easy for me to make, but I have to make it nonetheless. 

One (actually several, but I'll bring up my favorite for the time being) of the many responses I received on my last related post underlined some of the negativity that persists somehow in our Taiwan: http://patrick-cowsill.blogspot.com/2009/11/foreigners-getting-credit-card-in.html. Naturally, I feel the need to focus in and point out his or her misguided comment right now:

"You are using words in ways that are not normal. Foreigner in Taiwan means non-citizens. You are not a Taiwanese citizen. What are you railing against? Just because foreigners are a diverse group of individuals doesn't mean you aren't one. Maybe Taiwanese should be careful of their stereotypes of foreigners and foreigners should be careful of their stereotypes of Taiwanese. Sure, but doesn't mean you aren't a foreigner. Nothing in your story indicated that you were discriminated against due to the color of your skin. They rejected you because you are not a citizen. If you think it was racist, prove it. Someone say, of Japanese ethnicity and not a Taiwanese citizen is able to get a credit card and you aren't? And then the really weird usage--why do you appear to mean Minnan by Taiwanese and classify Hakka or waishengren as non-Taiwanese (or conversely that Taiwanese don't include Hakka and waisheng)? That is the only prejudicial/racist thing I can find in your whole story and comments. (That you're informing foreigners that they can get a credit card if they make a lot of noise about it is a good service to the community, but again, it has nothing to do with racism)."


Well, I think it is time to respond. At the end of the day, I received a credit card. All it turned out I had to do was write to the American company Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託) was cooperating with and explain their tactics.... A day or two later, one of Chinatrust Commercial Bank's VPs was in my office and presenting a credit card. All I had to do was write my name down. My salary and assets were neither here nor there as I did not have to account for either.

I have it on good authority that Americans of Taiwanese descent who do not have Taiwanese passports can still receive credit cards based simply on basis of them looking like they are of the Chinese or Taiwanese race. This seems to be enough for Chinatrust Commercial Bank. 

Here was my last post on on Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託):

Banks in Taiwan generally refuse "foreigners" credit cards. I guess they're afraid they won't be able to recoup money (I would think this line of doubt should be extended to any customer, regardless of his or her skin color). Taiwan's constitution states in Chapter I, General Provisions, Article 5: "There shall be equality among the various racial groups in the Republic of China (Taiwan)." But it doesn't seem to have had much bearing on this issue. The card hawkers who set their tables up at the doors of Taiwan's department stores, outside theaters or even on sidewalks seem to shiver with fear when they see a "foreigner" approaching. I've discussed the absurdity of this with a local friend who works for a bank in Taiwan, a bank that also denies people access based on their skin color. He told me: "We really don't have any way to make locals pay us back any more than we do 'foreigners.' Credit cards should be issued on salary, whether people have collateral, appear normal, etc. But I just don't want to rock the boat."

About a month ago, I was leaving Costco (Cheng Ho branch) in Taiwan. Chinatrust Commercial Bank (Chinatrust Commercial Bank 中國信託) had set up a booth at the door. Their sales rep., seeing my Taiwanese wife out in the lead, immediately came up to her with an application in hand. My wife, who hates credit cards, turned him down flat. When I had caught up, I said: "I'll apply. What's the process?" These words sent the Chinatrust Bank rep. into a stuttering state of confusion. Aghast, he told me:

"You're a 'foreigner'! It's not possible". Actually, I figured this kind of response was on the way. Several of my friends have been turned down at Chinatrust Commercial Bank Chinatrust Commercial Bank 中國信託) on their credit card applications based on race. One friend, who speaks Chinese, was even offered a card. After he'd finished the application, the teller informed him, upon conferring with her superiors:

"We can't give you a credit card because you're a 'foreigner.'"

Naturally, the whole "you're a foreigner" stuck in my craw. After considering my options, I decided to write to Costco and explain the situation - namely, they were cooperating with a bank that discriminates against out-groups. I asked: "Do you really want this attached to your brand?"

The next day, and for a week following, I received a flurry of email replies from Chinatrust Commercial Bank, who assured me that their bank didn't discriminate. They told me: "It was just a big misunderstanding. We'd like to process your application pronto". They were even willing to send a rep. over to my office at my convenience. When their rep. did show up, a VP no less, he explained: "It was just a big misunderstanding. They're afraid to speak English!"

"But I was speaking Chinese," I countered, "just the same as I am speaking Chinese to you. Plus I can name people who have been told they couldn't apply at your bank because of the color of their skin."

"It's just ignorance," was the reply. "BTW, let me have the name of the rep. so he can be punished."

"That's not necessary [especially if he's following company policy]." I liked the guy and didn't want to get into it. I could see he was trying, and that he didn't agree with what had transpired.

My application was passed seamlessly. I didn't even have to, oddly, submit information about my salary, assets or what have you. Some of my friends have pointed out that I was just being bought off. I can't really verify this. When I emailed Chinatrust back about statistics, in particular, how many "foreigners" have credit cards at the bank, I received no reply whatsoever. In fairness, I suppose it would be violating the bank's confidentiality code and undercutting security. I do, however, now have another credit card, my first Taiwan-based credit card. Did I receive it to shut the f*&^ up? Maybe. I still believe that it could mean that Chinatrust has had to rethink how it deals with its customers. If so, this is great news.

Let me know if you've had problems with Chinatrust Commercial Bank in getting a credit card. They have stepped out into the light to clarify their position. This post, or an email to the bank, might speed things along.

在臺灣的銀行,一般來說,會拒绝發給「外國人」信用卡。 我猜測他們害怕他們無法收回金錢(我認為應該延伸疑慮這一行到所有顧客,無關他們的膚色)。 臺灣的憲法宣示,在第I章裡的總條款下第 5條款: 「在中華民國(臺灣)裡,所有不同的種族,一律享有平等的待遇」。 但是情況不見得如此。 辦卡人員會在百貨公司劇院的門口甚至在路邊,設置他们的桌子,來進行申請手續,當他們看見「外國人」接近時,充滿恐懼。 我和一位在臺灣一家銀行工作的朋友談論過,基本上,銀行也否認發卡與否,是根據他們的膚色。 他告訴了我: 「我們真正地,沒有任何方式,可以使當地人償還多過於『外國人』。 發行信用卡應該取決於薪資上及人們是否有擔保品,看上去正常等等。 但我就是不想要晃動小船"打草驚蛇。

一個月前,我正要離開在臺灣Costco(中和區)。 中國信託商業銀行,設立一個攤位在門口。 他們的銷售人員,看見我的臺灣老婆,走在前頭領路,立刻地伸出手中的申請表來。 我老婆討厭信用卡,斷然的拒绝。 當我往前去,我說: 「我要申請,辦卡過程是什麼?「中國信託銀行人員,聽了這些話,馬上陷入一個混亂地口吃狀態。 嚇呆,他告訴了我:

「您是『外國人』! 它是不可能的"。 事實上,我已預料到這種反應。 我的幾個朋友,在中國信託商業銀行裡,去申請他們的信用卡,都因為種族的原因被刷下來。 一個朋友會講中文,甚而提供了一張個人明片。 在他完成了申請表之後,承辦人員通知了他,經與她的主管商談:

因為您是『外國人』」, 「我們不可能給您信用卡。
自然地,整個「您是外國人」的話揪住我的胃 。 在考慮我的選擇以後,我決定寫信給Costco和解釋情況-那就是,他們與歧視外籍團體的銀行合作。 我問: 「您是否真正地想要此附在您的商標上」 ?

次日,和接著一個星期 ,我收到了大量的電子郵件回覆,從中國信託商業銀行寄的,向我保證,他們的銀行沒有歧視。 他們告訴我: 「它是一種大誤解。 我們希望僅快地處理您的申請"。 為了我的方便,他們甚至是願意派辦卡人員到我的辦公室,來辦理信用卡申請。 當他們的辦卡人員出現, VP沒有,他解釋了: 「它是一種大誤解。 他們害怕講英語!

我反駁的說,「但是我講中文」, 「同樣地我與您用中文交談的。 加上我可以說出是那些人的名字, 他們被告知無法在您的銀行申請,由於他們的皮膚的顏色"。

回應是「它是一種忽視」,。 「BTW,讓我有辦卡人員的名字。 如此他可以被懲罰"。

「[不必要如此,特別是如果他遵照著公司的政策]」。 我喜歡這人,並且沒有想要他牽涉進去。 我看的出來他想設法解決,並且他沒有認同這樣的事件發生。

無聲無息地我的申請通過了。奇怪地,我甚至不需要交出有關我的薪資單,財產或您有什麼的文件。 我的一些朋友指出我是被收買了。 我無法真正地確定如此。 當我回覆電子郵件給中國信託,對於統計來說,特別是,到底有多少「外國人」 在銀行辦到信用卡,我沒有收到回應。 在公正上,我假設它將違犯銀行的機密代碼並且暗中破壞安全性。然而,我現在有另一信用卡,從臺灣發出的第一張信用卡。是否我接受它閉上我的嘴f*&^ ? 也許是, 我仍然相信它可能意味中國信託必須重新考慮怎麼處理它的顧客。 如果那樣,這是了不起的新聞。

讓我知道,如果您與中國信託辦理信用卡有發生問題。 他們須站出來說明他們的情況。 對銀行來說,這個發表或者電子郵件,也許會加速事情完成。

注:登廣告者在2011年2月與我聯繫。 他們希望我加入這個鏈接。 我沒有任何問題 對於多年來我是在我自己的口袋(部落格)來投稿發表 。 加上,我至少沒找到他們的公司有任何麻煩。 如果您對這個理念持相反意見,請告訴我。 無論如何,這裡去: 它是為修復信用(credit repair)的公司。


Anonymous said...

Well, this might be off the topic, but my Taiwanese wife in the US is finding it difficult--actually impossible--to get a credit card from a US bank or department store because they check your (US) credit record before they offer you a card. Since she doesn't have a credit record in the US (and I suppose because we're not part of the 1%), she can't get a card...

Patrick Cowsill said...

That doesn't have anything to do with race but rather you don't have credit rating. People of all races and ethnicities do in fact have credit ratings in the US.

I also had problems when I returned to the US in the early 2000s because I hadn't lived in there since my childhood. When I went car shopping, I was told I couldn't get financing because I didn't have any credit rating.

(BTW, I put US$10,000 on the counter and the financing came around pretty quickly.)

Andre said...

maybe i'm too pro-taiwan, but i try not to use any products / services in taiwan that have "中國" in their names

Okami said...

I have to defend Chinatrust on this one: The problem is they need to call you twice on 2 different days to verify it isn't credit card fraud attempt. It was a major PITA, but you literally need them holding your hand unless you speak really good Chinese. I don;t and I got my card with a lot of help.

It's best to get Costco involved early because then Chinatrust will work with you because you are destroying their harmony with Costco. If you don't involve Costco, you faced the possibility of getting your application trashed. After that, it goes relatively smoothly. They leave messages and you call them, then they will call you back a short time later.

It's all a very messy problem of credit card fraud, cellphone fraud, latent racism and outright lazyness.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"It's best to get Costco involved early because then Chinatrust will work with you because you are destroying their harmony with Costco. If you don't involve Costco, you faced the possibility of getting your application trashed."

If you are a "foreigner" and find you are discriminated against in applying for a credit card in Taiwan, which you will inevitably will be, get in touch with the foreign partner(s) of the local company putting you through said BS. This is the only way you'll get it sorted out and also will help to put local companies who are "latently racist" on notice. It is probably the only avenue you have. I also suggest capturing this kind of nonsense on film and putting it online.