A lot has happened and we haven’t been in town two weeks yet. It is Thursday of our second week and we applied for a checking account at BNL nine working days ago. Busy with the whole apartment thing, we had managed to stay out of the bank an entire week to let them work it out. Having received no phone call, as promised, Larry is beside himself. We get the fact that they need to be sure we are not terrorists or money laundering, but it’s just a checking account! Thursday morning we dress to impress and go into the bank. We walk into the office of one of the gentlemen that helped us the first day. He looks at us sheepishly and says he still has not heard anything from Rome (which we translate into no one wanted to be the one to tell us the bad news). At this point it seems we are asking for something “outside the box” and no one in this office has the authority to act independently. He honestly feels bad he can’t make it happen. We tell him we will just have to go to another bank, and he agrees that is probably the best course.
Well now Larry is really worried wondering what bank to start over with. I mentioned before that we aren’t particularly religious but as we are walking through the Piazza del Popolo that day the door to the Church of Saint Frances is open and Larry decides we should go in. We had planned to tour the 26 churches in the city once we had “business” done, but had not stepped foot in a single one of them until now. Coincidence? I wonder.
That afternoon we had an appointment with Cinzia V., to sign some paperwork and we explain our dilemma and ask if she has any suggestions where we might try next. She makes a couple phone calls and in walks a nice friend of Cinzia’s who speaks English and works for Pfizer. Then the four of us walk to the Bank of Rome (UniCredit/Banca di Roma) across Piazza Roma and into the office of the Regional Manager. Cinzia begins to explain what we need and her friend asks us needed details and translates. I hear things like “no problema” and why to BNL? So for the second time since our arrival I get to use the term “stupido Americani” to get a smile. We leave with an appointment for that afternoon to fill out the paperwork, so 24 hours after being shunned by BNL we have an account – amici di amici. At the moment “no problema” and “perfetto” are my favorite Italian phrases.
I think BNL knew somehow because that weekend we went to the ATM (Bancomat) near us at BNL and it not only did not give us any euros, but charged our SDCCU account for $500 plus fees. Speaking of hateful, you’re probably thinking the same thing I was. At least I won’t have to deal with the jealous lady in the security machine at BNL. Let me just say these machines have amazing communications as Monday morning when we returned to Banca di Roma to meet with the bank manager (although not young, I shall call him Adonis), not only did she not let me in but didn’t let Larry or the Italian woman before us in. All I can say is she must of had a hard weekend! So the bank manager had to let us all in. I have learned to be grateful every time I’m allowed to enter the bank, without my purse.