Crying all the way to the bank

<%image(millionaire.gif|420|146|10:53am UK, Thursday May 21, 2009
“Interpol are hunting a couple who have fled New Zealand after a bank paid £4.9m into their account by mistake. Huan Di Zhang and Hui Gao asked Westpac Bank for a $10,000 (£4,900) overdraft but instead received a deposit of $10m (£4.9m), according to the New Zealand Press Agency.”)%>

Oops.

Huan and Hui stuffed the money in a duffle bag, closed down their gas station, and hit the road, in pursuit of a better life as millionaires.

That must rank pretty high on kids’ dreams of money, trailing only another classic, “if everybody in Finland/Sweden/my country sent me just one euro/dollar, I’d be a mllionaire!”

I once made a tiny banking mistake, too. Back in the golden 1980s, as a college student, I worked at a Finnish bank, and we teller boys and girls still had to write the deposits and withdrawals in the bank books by hand.

I can say, without a trace of arrogance, just as a fact, that I had the longest lines in bank – and not because I was slow, but because people loved doing business with me. One of my regulars was a rich old lady, who turned up every month to collect her pension. And every month, she waited in my line, and every month, I printed a sticker with the new pension, glued it to her bank book and then printed the new total in my best handwriting. All that with a smile on my face.

A month after I had quit at the bank and gone back to school, I went back to say hi to my old colleagues and they told me that I had accidentally made the rich old lady 100 000 Finnish markka (15 000 euro) poorer thanks to some sloppy adding. What should have been, say, 400 000, now said 300 000 in a neat college student handwriting.

But, no harm was done. My more experience colleague just made the correction, the rich old lady was a little richer again, and I have never worked at a bank since.

Win-win-win.

2 thoughts on “Crying all the way to the bank

  1. And of course the New Zealand couple were Chinese. That bit of critical detail wasn’t in the first report I read, but it makes SO much sense. They didn’t flee home; they LEFT FOR HOME. Good luck to the authorities in locating a couple of Chinese named Huan and Hui back in China, hahaha!!!

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