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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Island Life: The Bank Account

My adventures living on a Caribbean island. Welcome to my monthly, or not so monthly adventures. We try not to commit too soon here on island :-)

First Impression #1:
I already had a part-time job teaching at the University before I moved "on island," so that was one task completed, but I knew I would need a bank account to have my checks direct deposited.  

I reviewed the banking situation and found four banks here: Bank of St. Croix, Banco Popular, First Bank, and Scotia Bank.

Shortly after moving to the island, I went to the bank of my choice on a Friday, because I have Fridays off, and I walked in and waited for a representative. I had cash in my pocket and my license from Arizona ready. 

When it was my turn, I told the Bank Representative that I was there to open a checking account. She smiled and said she'd be happy to help me. "When would you like to come in to do that?"

I guessed from her expression that "Now" would have been the wrong answer. So I suggested next Friday.  Whew! Chalk one up for not making a fool of myself.  

Still a little surprised by this turn of events, I made to leave, but she quickly stopped me. She handed me a list of all the documentation I would need to open the account.
Exactly as listed I needed:
  •  2 pieces of Valid Identification
  • Proof of Mailing Address
  • Proof of Physical Address
  •  Employment Letter or check stub
  • Social Security Card
Needless to say, I was taken aback. But I thanked her and left.

The following Friday I returned at my scheduled time with all my documentation and after almost an hour I was the proud owner of a new checking account. I have moved many times, but I have to say that this was the most complicated process for setting up a checking account I have ever encountered. But as I soon learned, that wasn't all.

Main Street Frederiksted
I used the cash card the Representative gave me often to withdraw money when needed. Three months after opening the account, it stopped working.  Unbeknownst to me, it was only a temporary card. I had to go back to the bank in person to obtain my permanent cash card! Luckily, my license and my non-working cash card were enough for me to receive the permanent one :-)  Now, I am set with direct deposit into my official checking account and a permanent cash card.

View from the bank
Lesson #1: Island Life means processes are a little more convoluted and complex than living on the mainland, but I still wouldn't trade the warm temperatures and crystal blue waters for shorter time at the bank. 

Uh-ah, no way :-)



  1. I can't believe I found you! We met at the NOLA conference back in March.

    You're island life sounds wonderful as well as beautiful.

  2. Hi Susan. How great that you found me! NOLA was a great conference. Everyone was so friendly. Wish we had a RWA Chapter here so we could have a conference, but it's just me.

    Island life IS fun. I won't deny it :-)

  3. I wouldn't have given my answer-to the cashier-as much thought as you did. I would've said "now's fine"! She must've been used to people not having all the paperwork in their wallets.
    Oh, and that must not be the place to have "suspicious" or "secret" accounts!

  4. I guess I shouldn't take the Chase branch at my local supermarket for granted anymore, huh?

  5. You are so right, Dawn. No off-shore accounts on this island. Wouldn't do any good since we are owned by the U.S. :-)

  6. Marie, definitely! Our University Campus just got an ATM last month! That is huge. Unfortunately, it's not my bank,but no worries. I have an ATM near where I live. Near as in within two miles. You probably drive to work more miles than this island is long :-)

  7. Love the view from the bank! Can't imagine ever getting tired of that view! Yay for makes some of the hassles more tolerable, doesn't it?
    And you look fantastic.

    Lyndee :)

  8. Thanks, Lyndee :-) The view is amazing and I will be posting more photos as I continue my Island Life stories.