Opening a Bank Account
Clerk: Good morning. May I help you?
Mrs. Olson: Yes, My husband and I have just moved here from Florida. We’re just down the street, and you seem to be the closest bank. I’d like to open an account.
Clerk: Well, we ‘re not only the closest bank, but we’re also the most modern and convenient bank in the whole metropolitan area. Let me take you to our new accounts manager. Ms. Green. (He leads her to a desk near the window.) You sit here and as soon as Ms. Green is off the phone, she’ll be glad to help you.
Ms. Green: Good morning. I’m Edna Green. What may I do for you today?
Mrs. Olson: I’m here to open an account for my husband and myself. My name is Margaret Olson.
Ms. Green: Do you want a joint account, Mrs. Olson?
Mrs. Olson: Yes, we’ve always had a joint account. Tell me about your checking account policy. Is there a minimum balance required?
Ms. Green: Yes and no. There is no minimum deposit required, but if you open your account with five hundred dollars or more and keep at least that much in it at all times, then there is no service charge. Also we now payinterest on your checking account, so there’s no need to keep a separate savings account.
Mrs. Olson: I’m not sure I understand about the five-hundred-dollar part. Could you explain that to me again, please?
Ms. Green: Of course. Accounts are charged a monthly service charge of five dollars if the minimum balance in them falls below five hundred dollars at any time during the statement period. You may keep as little as three dollars in your account, but if you do , then we charge you five dollars at the end of the month since it went below the five-hundred-dollar minimum.
Mrs. Olson: I see. Now, since we’ll be writing checks through-out the month, our balance will vary from day to day. How will you know what amount to use to figure out interest? I’d also like to know how much interest you pay.
Ms. Green: The rate varies. Right now, it’s six percent. It has gone as low as four and a half percent and as high as seven percent. Our computer adds all the daily figures and then divides by the number of days in your statement period. That’s called your average daily balance. We use the average daily balance to figure the interest you’ve earned and credit it automatically to your account. The interest is printed on your monthly statement so you’ll know to add it into your checkbook yourself. All bank charges and credits are recorded on your monthly statement.
Mrs. Olson: If you mean that five-dollar service charge, I can tell you that I’m going to try to avoid that charge. We should be able to keep more than five hundred dollars in our account all the time.
Ms. Green: Yes, that’s one type of bank charge, but there are others. The checks you’ll be ordering today are an example. We’ll decide what kind of checks you want and then charge your account for them. It will appear on your first month’s statement. Of course, if a check of yours should be returned for insufficient funds, there would be charge for that too.
Mrs. Olson: Do you mean bouncing a check? Unfortunately, I once had that experience. For a time both my husband and I were careless about recording the check we had written. We overdrew our account twice and our checks bounced. Needless to say, we were embarrassed. We’re much more careful these days.
Ms. Green: You’d be surprised at how many people forget to record the checks they write. As you said, it’s often a matter of carelessness; no one would bounce a check on purpose. Speaking of checks, why don’t we look at the various styles available?
Mrs. Olson: (She chooses her checks and completes several forms.) I’d like to open this account with a deposit of one thousand dollars. Will it be all right if I write a check on our old account?
Ms. Green: Certainly, as long as the account in your former bank is still active. By the way, since you are opening your account with one thousand dollars, you may choose one of the gifts which are displayed on that table over there. The bank is having a promotion to attract new customers. It’s our way to welcoming you and thanking you for your business.
Mrs. Olson: Thank you. I like that travel alarm clock. Thank you for all your help. I’ll ask my husband to come by here this afternoon so that he can sign the forms too. That way we’ll both be able to start writing checks on our new account. How long will it take for the printed checks which I just ordered to arrive?
Ms. Green: About ten days. Here, I want you to take one of our pamphlets which describes all our services.
Mrs. Olson: Thank you very much.
Comprehension and Conversation Practice
1. Where does this dialogue take place? What people take part in the dialogue?
2. Why did Mrs. Olson choose this particular bank?
3. What is the bank’s minimum balance policy?
4. What does bouncing a check mean? What happens when a check bounces?
5. Why did Ms. Green offer Mrs. Olson a gift? Which gift did she choose?
6. What is a join account? What other kinds are there?
7. What is the difference between a checking account and a saving account?
8. What are the duties of a teller in a bank?
9. What are the advantages of paying for purchases by check rather than in cash?
10. What are traveler’s checks? How are they used?
11. Since this bank pays its customers interest for keeping their money there, how does it make a profit?
12. What is the procedure for taking out a loan?
13. What interest does your bank pay to its customers? What interest does it charge its customers who have taken out a loan?
14. What are blank checks? How are they useful?
15. What are some of the services offered by banks in your area? What are their hours?