Friday, March 18, 2011

ENCOUNTERING AGE DISCRIMINATION AT THE BANK

My mother hasn't been discharged yet, but every few days, the hospital would contact me and request for a RM8000 top-up. So far, the cost of her 12-day hospitalization, angioplasty and hip surgery has exceeded RM31,000. She has at least another 4-5 days to go before she can go home. I dread to receive the final bill.

Yesterday I was at the bank on what I knew was a 'mission impossible' - to ask for a raise on my credit card limit so I could pay for each hospital top-up. No harm trying, I thought. Just as I had feared, the bank imposed conditions that I couldn't meet because of my age. It was all too familiar, as I was given the same conditions when I tried to apply for a second credit card last year.

What were the conditions? They wanted me to submit my latest income statement. Hello, I'm 63 and retired. I haven't been in full-time employment for years. They also asked for a copy of my FD accounts. The amounts I have in my FDs are embarrassing, and for my eyes only.

Doesn't it count that I have never been in credit card debt, or any debt, for that matter? I have a sparkling clean record, and an AAAA rating on my integrity. But I guess the banks are not impressed by such pristine track records. They can't impose a fee on me for late payment or charge me interest on bank loans or overdrafts. In short, I'm not considered a good customer.

The bill I received on 16 March - this is only a sub-total of page 1. Take a closer look at the most costly items. (Click on image to enlarge.)
All this means I have to get a banker's cheque made out in favour of the hospital. The hospital does not accept personal cheques. And if the costs keep escalating, as they definitely will, I'll have to visit the bank 2-3 more times to get the cheques done. What a hassle!

And that's not the only case of age discrimination I encountered of late. More in the next blog post.

Related Post:
Credit Card Discrimination Against Retirees

7 comments:

Pak Idrus said...

Lily, I sympathized with you.

I would advice folks to ask the Ambulance to send the patience to the relevant government hospital since most Ambulance personal know where to send the patience. The treatment at government hospital would be the same or it could be better and the cost would be minimal, almost free.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I totally empathize with you.
I was in the UK on work. It is no better there. Another time, I complained in writing to the big cheese about the treatment of my mother at a local bank. They wrote to say they were making arrangements for those with special needs. My 80yr old mother though moved her very healthy account elsewhere as did all of her 10 adult children!
Thank you for highlighting the issue & best wishes.

Anonymous said...

The bank did not discriminate you because of your age. They did not raise your credit limits because you have limited means to pay them back. A clean credit history qualifies as a good record but your story clearly showed them that they have no evidence to support that you could repay in your current situation. We should be happy that the bank made their decision like that. There are more concerns in the Malaysian banking system if they gave out extra credit limits when there is limited chance to get the money back.

Gadfly said...

Many years ago I tried to negotiate on behalf of someone else over the great difficulties of paying the credit debt. The words of that Bank Manager left an indelible image in my mind:
"We had a client who was in terminal illness. His family asked us to reduce the credit debt.We said "NO". Even for people who are in their last dying days also we don't allow the amount to be reduced. This is our bank's policy."

I agree that banks don't discriminate. I mean they don't discriminate between living and dying persons or people who are in deep suffering.

Next time, you go to the bank and see all the smiling faces posted in all their brocures or on the walls, beware, the bank only smile at certain people.

Antares said...

The day will come when being introduced as a banker will have more negative social repercussions than being declared HIV+. And if private hospitals continue to cater only for the rich, they will soon join the ranks of the bankers. And these people think they can pray to God for forgiveness and hope to go to heaven, hahaha. All their lives they worship Mammon and they believe they can fool the guardians at the gates of paradise...

el-f said...

I still think banks practise age discrimination. Retired professionals are probably worth a lot more than most young professionals burdened with credit card debts, mortgages, instalment payments, bills, etc, and little savings to draw upon. Yet they have no problems applying for and getting multiple credit cards. Banks like the fact that these people have full time jobs. Retirees may not have steady incomes, but they own property,
have ample savings, and healthy investment portfolios. Interest on FDs are a joke, so few would bother with them.

As for hospitals, Pak Idrus, you are right. From now on, no more private hospitals. Government hospitals are just as good, if not better.

Flying Writer said...

I am a 69 year old expat working here in Malaysia with a perfect credit history. I have been here for six years. In the US my credit rating is 800+. My annual income in Malaysia is over 300,000 RM and I have additional income in the US from social security of 24,000 USD.

I have been turned down for a credit card here by both HSBC and CIMB due to my age! That is definitely AGE DISCRIMINATION!