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Babbler # 690

posted 02 July 2003 12:03 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
HSBC is to become the first UK high street bank to offer mortgages and current accounts designed to comply with Islamic law.

HSBC to offer 'Islamic mortgages'

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 02 July 2003 09:38 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You know, that's really kind of neat.

It reminds me of a funny story, though. When I first moved to Toronto after getting married a few years back, I got a job with a company that sells long distance phone cards. It was an inbound call centre for customer service and ordering, so whenever anyone had a problem with their card, we'd get the call.

Not only did we sell the calling cards from the store, but we would set up calling card accounts, so that people would get a card in the mail, and they would use the same one all the time and pay a monthly bill for it, just like any other long distance plan. Or they could have the long distance on their home phone switched over to our company. It was unbelievable, the kind of nickle-and-diming that people would do when the bills came out, too - "You billed me for 5 minutes and I only talked for 4 minutes - I want my 10 cents!" That kind of thing.

So anyhow, the one demographic group that this company really catered to were Iranian-Canadians who call Iran on a regular basis, because there was a good rate to Iran on the cards, and a big chunk of advertising was on Persian-language television shows. The owners were Persian-Canadians and so were a lot of the staff in order to deal with the high volume of Persian-speaking customers.

So anyhow, this one Iranian fellow calls me up and tells me that he is paying his bill late, but he doesn't want to pay interest. I was, like, what? He didn't want to pay interest because it was against his religion - he was a Muslim.

Well, this was a new one for me. I mean, that was the best excuse I'd heard yet for not paying your bill. But I thought, well, sometimes there is a good reason for being late, and in that case we were authorized to waive the late payment, so I asked him why he was paying late. Oh, he had just forgotten about it, but he still didn't want to pay interest. He shouldn't have to because it was against his religion.

I told him, "I'm sorry, but those are the terms of your account. If you pay late, you pay the late payment." I knew my boss would back me up on this. So the guy starts arguing with me about this, and I finally said, "All right, let me look up your account," because I wanted to see if he'd ever made late payments before. I pulled up his account and his bill. The late payment was under 10 cents.

I said, "It's seven cents," (or whatever the exact amount was). I couldn't believe I had been wasting 10 minutes arguing over 7 cents. I said, "Here. I'll give you the credit. But I'm putting a note on your account and if you're late again, you pay interest. If you want to observe your religion when it comes to interest, then don't pay late."

He said, "Thank-you, I appreciate it - it's not the amount, it was the principle of the thing." Then he made his payment - WITH A VISA CARD!

I was so tempted to do a credit check on him, or look up his file where the initial credit check was done on him, to see whether he carries balances on his credit accounts, but I settled for just laughing it off. It made a great water-cooler story, so what the heck. Something's gotta keep your life interesting working in a place like that.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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