@NBKPage – Trapped Inside the Box

Back in the day, when my Dad was trying to teach me mathematics, he had a favorite phrase for me:

انت حافظ مش فاهم.

You have learnt, not understood.

Imagine you are solving an equation, you have memorized how to follow the steps and are rubbing your hands together in eager anticipation of applying your new knowledge to solve this bad-boy.

But wait! They throw a curve-ball at you, something that is not in the manual, a wild card. And all of the sudden, you are left feeling defeated and stumped.

A smart person that thinks outside the box however, is not defeated so easily, and hence my dad’s voice always resonates in my mind when I am confronted with people that do not think outside the box.


That is exactly what WAS going to happen to me at my latest visit to NBK. Allow me to explain:

As I said before, I recently finished paying the installments on my car (insert applause) (link). Now I wanted to remove the pesky line on my vehicle registration which reads “required for installments” (مطلوب للاقساط).

Now, for those that do not know, any transaction you wish to transact with the bank requires your Civil ID.


Proof of identity.

Now, during my current well-timed and synchronized maladies, all the following occurred within mere weeks of one another:

1) Changed jobs – requiring residency transfer.

2) Paid off car loan.

3) Vehicle Registration Renewal.

As my residency was being finalized (i.e. Civil ID preparation), I wanted to request the “Clearance Letter” from the bank to submit to the DMV when renewing my registration. Now, I did not have my civil ID, but being the sharp tool in the box that I am, I took my passport, with my newly minted residency inside.

The employee at the front desk, trained to repeat the same line over and over again, requested my Civil ID.

I explained my story.

Her first reaction: No.

Again, I explained that the Civil ID is a form of identification SECOND to a passport, which is legally accepted everywhere in the world. Everywhere.

She tells me she must check with her manager.

I breathe a sigh of relief and imagine that the manager will instruct her to process my paperwork.

She returns and says, “My manager said No”.

At this point I am irate and request to speak to the manager myself. I walk into her office and inform her that, my residency is renewed (not only that, I gave them external copies of the passport and the residency to make their life easier, so they did not have to sift through the passport themselves) and that my passport is a valid form of identification, much better than the Civil ID.

She tells me that she fears “the guys upstairs” will reject it because the Civil ID is not there. She then picks up the phone and calls them, and they said ok.

“Please process his paperwork.” She says to the front desk.

Time lost for explaining the obvious: cannot be recovered.

I can understand if the front desk does not have the authority to make logical decisions, but for a manager to not understand the concept, that takes the cake. The inability to deviate from the process slightly and think about what the process hopes to achieve and whether or not it is achieved is obviously asking too much of the front desk, and branch management.

Initially the bank told me they needed one week to process the paper. This was then brought down to 3 days at this branch, and it actually only took one.

I wish they had taken 3 days though, because they made a mistake on the sheet:



According to the phrase highlighted above, my car was not “Required for Installments” (للاقساط), it was in fact “With installments” (بالاقساط).


“Yes I’d like one car please with extra hummus, hold the Mayo!”

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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