RESP Redemption (Redux)

in RESP, University Costs

I went to the bank with our Free letter from my middle daughter’s University (the nice one in Nova Scotia), which was e-mailed to us (for use in RESP Redemption), and finally the entire RESP story came into crisp and clear focus. It can be summed up with a simple phrase that we will call the Big C8j Customer Service Rule:

People who work in phone centers for banks (or any financial service) do not know how things really work, in the bank branch.

What do I mean by this? Remember all that ranting I have done about getting letters to get money, and having to pay $12 to get them (and YES that DOES piss me off), well that’s not how it all really works, when you are hoping for RESP redemption.

How RESP Redemption Really Works?

We showed up at our local branch, with our Letter of Enrollment in hand, and I had no idea what to expect, but luckily Good Providence, Karma or whichever way the Universe works, smiled upon my wife and I. The “teller” we spoke to first was the Branch Manager, this made the whole process much simpler, and smoother running.

First we discussed what needed to be done with this Letter of Enrollment that we had received from the University (this is the Free one that was simply attached to an e-mail). The Manager said it was sufficient to execute an RESP redemption from my daughter’s RESP, HOORAY! HUZZAH! WHOOP! WHOOP! I was hoping for confetti to drop out of the ceiling, however, this is not the end of the story.

The Manager then said if I wanted to make the withdrawal, I could make an appointment with one of the Mutual Fund Experts and then I could do my RESP redemption.

Insert the sound of screeching brakes, the Process was about to be derailed, because there was no way I wanted to make an appointment to get at this money (sit down for another 1/2 hour with an Expert, later in the week?!? NFW). I pointed out that I usually did all of my banking on line, and if the Manager was able to set the “She is Going to School For Real Flag” on my daughter’s RESP account, couldn’t I simply do this all on line? The Manager thought about it, and agreed this might all be possible, but he was not sure (a small sigh of relief the process was not completely derailed).

The Manager then pointed out that normally I should have made an appointment to bring in this letter, because a normal bank teller cannot do this, hence the statement: People who work in phone centers for banks (or any financial service) do not know how things really work, in the bank branch. I explained that I had been told on the phone RESP redemption was all do-able with a normal teller,the Manager said no they can’t, but because I was lucky enough to get him as my Teller, things would all work out nicely.

The Manager then pointed out that, in fact, since he was the one setting the “She is Going to School For Real Flag” on my daughter’s RESP account, I didn’t really need a Letter of Enrollment at all, the branch in fact will take a Proof of Payment (i.e. a receipt from the school), a copy of my daughter’s schedule, or a Transaction number which shows the amount was paid to the University (or a canceled cheque I assume).

Let me repeat that important rule I have stated twice now: People who work in phone centers for banks (or any financial service) do not know how things really work, in the bank branch. So, for my oldest daughter’s RESP all I need to do is bring in my proof of payment, and her RESP account will be freed up to have money extracted from it, I will be doing that very soon.

Is It All Over Now?

Not quite,  as a Caveat, I have not attempted to take money out of either RESP account on line yet, so this still may all end in tears, when I attempt to withdraw money from the accounts, I hope this is me being paranoid, but I suspect there are still a few more interesting twists in the road before I reach the promised land. I have also noticed that on the allegedly fixed RESP account on line, there is no button to REDEEM MUTUAL FUNDS, only two buttons to BUY or SWITCH them, which is not good news.

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{ 8 comments }

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • resp September 18, 2010, 11:43 AM

    Yes, the banks jumped onto the RESP bandwagon when the government grant came out in 1998.
    The teller at the bank might not know much about the RESP products specifically, a lot of the RESPs set up around the time the grant became available are just reaching maturity now. The teller will not have experience on how to process your request for funds.
    A few group RESP companies have been around for much longer, and have a very easy process in place for withdrawing funds when you need it. Appropriate forms are sent to your mailing address (or emailed if you prefer), you fill them out, send them in (including proof of enrollment), and the money is deposited into your account within days. Pretty simple, really.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman September 18, 2010, 12:22 PM

      Group RESP companies are a bigger problem than the Banks, as they are even farther from your reach, at least with my Bank I can go in and complain or talk to someone, with a Group RESP, I can ONLY talk to someone via e-mail or phone and I have no control over how the money is invested (my opinion).

      Reply
  • Kathy September 1, 2010, 11:45 AM

    I admit I laughed when I read “People who work in phone centers for banks (or any financial service) do not know how things really work, in the bank branch.” We’ve also found people who work in the branch don’t know how things really work either….sigh (we’ve helped quite a few RBC people learn their own system!).

    Last week I went into the “branch”/infocentre for President’s Choice Financial with my son to help him buy a GIC. Since I was there, I asked a couple basic questions about my RRSP — I was told to call the phone centre. (He was very good at dancing around the question and NOT answering it.) So in my case, the people who work in the fake PCF branch do not know how things really work at PCF.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman September 1, 2010, 11:48 AM

      But at least you got some groceries, so the trip wasn’t wasted. The President’s Choice “branches” are the exception that proves the rule, in this case.

      Reply
  • larry macdonald September 1, 2010, 6:57 AM

    What can make phone centers even more fun for some companies is when the agent has an accent so thick they can’t be fully understood.

    Reply
  • Joe September 1, 2010, 1:23 AM

    I’m really starting to hate banks. Could they be any more backward in terms of customer service and products?

    Reply
    • bigcajunman September 1, 2010, 6:27 AM

      They are attempting to make money as best they can, and if folks don’t stop using their services, they will keep thinking they are doing a good job.

      Reply

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