BY J E SOLOMON
There is a bank operating in Ghana, West Africa that goes by the name International Bank. Either the clerks are grossly ignorant about what they’re supposed to do, or the bank itself is not up to international standard. Perhaps Intranational Bank would be a better name. The bank is located in Central Accra.
Two brothers, one a Ghanaian-born American citizen and the other a Ghanaian-born British citizen both went to this so-called International Bank while on vacation in Ghana. The Ghanaian American wanted to open a new account.
A lady customer service representative of the bank asked the prospective customer to produce a form of identification. He produced a current American passport. The rep examined the passport and took a close look at the prospective customer, shifting her gaze from the picture in the passport to the guy’s face a couple of times.
“Sir, do you have a driving license?” the rep asked.
“Yes, I do. It’s an American driving license,” the prospective customer replied, and gently reached into his wallet for the license, which he handed over to the rep.
She looked at the driving license and then turned to the prospective customer. “Sir, you’ll have to produce your American resident permit in addition since you have only foreign IDs,” the rep said to the amazement of the two brothers.
The other brother asked if they could speak with the manager. The customer service rep stood up from her chair and walked to another desk, where a gentleman in suit was sitting. After a brief moment the two bank officials walked back to the customer service desk. The manager or supervisor, whatever he was, also repeated the rep’s earlier request, and insisted that the Ghanaian American produce his US resident permit besides the two forms of ID already presented.
Without wasting time, the prospective customer demanded his driving license and US passport. By this time he was already fuming with anger. As he grabbed his IDs from the manager/supervisor, he looked at him in the face and said, “Sir, you don’t seem to know what you’re asking me for. It’s like asking a university graduate seeking employment in your bank to produce his elementary school leaving certificate in addition to his Diploma and Master’s degree. It makes no sense.”
There couldn’t have been a better way to explain his situation to the bank official. The fact is that any legal immigrant in the United States first obtains a Resident Permit (Green Card). The permit enables the person to secure a Driving License issued in the State of residency. The license shows the person’s date of birth as well as the current home address. After five years, the legal resident could then apply for American citizenship. A most recent picture is required. If he goes through the whole process successfully, he obtains a Naturalization Certificate. It’s this certificate that enables one to obtain a US passport. Once the legal resident secures a driving license and also becomes a naturalized citizen, the resident permit is irrelevant. You could even shred it and dump the stuff in the garbage can. Yes, that's how useless it becomes at that point.
That the bank’s officials asked this potential investor to produce his resident permit only showed their ignorance. No wonder another bank in the area opened a new account for the Ghanaian American without asking for his resident permit.