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#3082: Fonkoze: My own personal banker in Haiti
>From Bob Corbett
I've never been treated as 'special' by a bank. I don't deal in money
much; no savings accounts, just a checking account, normally with a
rather low balance. But recently I chanced to deal with Fonkoze in Haiti
and had a simply marvelous experience in which I really felt for the
first time in my long life, that I was a special customer in the hands of
caring and competent people.
Back in 1983 I recall the first time I discovered the black market in
goud. If one changed money in a bank the rate was fixed at 5 goud to the
American dollar. But someone told me about the street market and I was
excited to get a whole 6 goud to the dollar there. As time went on
that amount crept up, but until relatively recent times it didn't get much
above 10 to 1. However, when it began to soar and banks even started
changing at a price not too much different than the street, I began to
Then it leveled off at about 15 to 1. Seemed to stay there for a couple
of years. I was traveling often to Haiti and always needed goud while
there. I kept thinking stability was just around the corner (despite
some of my stances I'm really an optimist at heart), and that with
stability the goud would stabilize against the dollar and fall back to
lower rates. (Obviously economics has never been my strong point.)
At that time I opened an account in goud at a downtown bank. The name of
the bank, no longer in existence, isn't important. I took all I could
afford, for me a substantial sum, for most people, not that much money.
I converted it into goud and had my "safety" account.
Well, of course, this was a very very bad idea economically. The goud
continued to rise and the value of my goud in the bank in relation to
what I paid for them, was falling in value nearly daily. Finally I
decided to bite the bullet of defeat and get my goud out of there and
back into dollars. I figured I'd do better re-changing it as I actually
needed it. The goud doesn't seem about to fall soon.
Now, here's the rub and where Fonkoze comes in. How was I, living in St.
Louis, and not planning to go back to Haiti for a while, going to get my
goud out of the bank, changed into dollars and put into my checking
account here in St. Louis? Not an easy problem.
I wrote to one of our list members and he referred me to Fonkoze. I
wrote them and they responded with kindness and helpfulness. They would
see what could be done.
It wasn't all that easy. My old bank, now with a new name, wanted me to
go to New York to certify before some government body that I am me. New
York's 1000 miles from St. Louis, money and time I simply couldn't
afford. My goud were hardly worth it! But in an experience, some might
use the word "ordeal," my personal representative from Fonkoze took this
project in hand. It was not a short process and actually from beginning
to end took more than 3 months, but recently I got a dollar check in the
mail, converted at the going rate of dollar to goud and deposited that in
my local account. Some loss from when I did the original conversion way
back when, but that I expected.
Now I'll do better when I go to Haiti to just buy goud at the going rate.
Obviously I'm very bad with money. Nonetheless, it is extremely hopeful
to me to know there is a bank which I can contact from St. Louis with
representatives willing to deal with me by e-mail and in English to
resolve my banking needs. If any of you have banking needs for Haiti, I
highly recommend you contact Fonkoze, Corbett's personal bankers!!!!!
If you are in the U.S., you can contact:
Fonkoze's U.S. Customer Service Representative
Or, you can reach Anne Hastings, Fonkoze's Director, at email@example.com