The first thing that migrants seem to need to do is getting a bank account. No bank account: No chance to rent a home and no chance to get paid for work. Often the problem is that to get a bank account you’ll need to present an address or a job, which makes you think of that great book Catch 69. In my case my girlfriend thankfully rented the house so I had a residential address to show when I marched into Lloyds TSB in Nottingham.
Ingo. Ingo Bousa.
Ah, ok. What can I do for you Mr Bussa?
I’d like to open a bank account.
Ah, no problem. Do you own a property or are you renting?
Renting (why’s that your business?)
Ah, ok. Do you have the contract?
Yes, my English partner is renting. We live there together.
Ah, ok. Hmm…
(JESUS! DO YOU WANT MY MONEY OR NOT!?)
Do you have your ID with you?
Aaaaaah... Germany! I’ve been to Germany once.
Oh really... that’s nice. Where did you go?
The Oktoberfest. Munich. I LOVED it. (of course you did... getting hammered on extremely overpriced beer, listening to techno-umpah-music)
Yeah, very nice.
So, what can I do for you Mr Bussa?
I’d like to open a personal bank account please.
Ok, no problem. *studies my German ID card* So.. it’s for Haans Bussa.
Er, no.. Ingo is actually my main name. Hans and Maria are just some second names. Ingo Bousa please.
Hmmmmmm.. but Hans is the first name on your ID card. We have to use the first name, is that ok?
Erm.. no that’s not ok, my name is Ingo Bousa. Can you make an exception?
I’m afraid not Mr Bussa.
Yes, I am sorry.
*we look at each other in silence for what feels like eternity*
Ok go on then, I really need a bank account.
No problem Mr Bussa. Sorry about that. So, do you have two utility bills in your name?
What? No, I don’t... the house is rented in my girlfriend’s name.
So, even today, my credit and bank cards all say Mr Hans Bousa. It’s one of the few things that I’d have expected from a German bank.