I am often blown away by the differences between “customer service” in the States and in Japan.
We are in the process of applying for a loan to expand my English school. So far, all of my students are just through people that we know. So, I’m going to have a sign made and make some flyers to hand out at local schools, and see if a few local businesses will display them as well. I’m also going to use the loan to improve my equipment (computer, printer, laminating machine) so that I can easily make materials for my classes, and to buy some more resource materials (readers, mostly).
We’ve now met with the bank 3 times. But here’s the thing… we have never gone to the bank once. They have come to us three times.
The first meeting we really had no idea what to expect or if we could even get a loan. So 2 gentlemen came from the bank and sat down to talk with us about the possibilities. I had very quickly made up a couple of rough spread sheets of what I thought I wanted to use the loan for and what I thought my potential income would be. So we talked about different possibilities. They said they would go back and talk with their supervisor and see if we were eligible.
A few days later they called back to say that we were eligible. The gentlemen came from the bank again and discussed the process and gave us a check sheet with a few things that we needed to do: register an inkan (name signature stamp) with city hall, get a special certificate from the tax office, and a list of estimates with backing details for what I planned to use the loan on.
We don’t have all the estimates yet, but today one of the guys came from the bank to our house to open up an account for me. The next time he comes he will bring the bank book with him.
When talking about the loan, it didn’t strike me as how different it was that the bank would come to your house to talk to you about a loan. But today when he came to open an account for me, it struck me. There is no way that a bank in the States would EVER come to your house to conduct business. When I mentioned this to Tak, he just shrugged and said something about how it’s always been that way in Japan.