A returning Norwegian traveller wanting to pay cash into his account thought bank staff were pulling his leg when they told him they no longer accept bank notes. Last week, Bjart Berge headed to his local Nordea branch in Stavanger city center to deposit his remaining dollars after returning from a trip to the United States, only to be told the bank no longer handles cash of any kind over the counter.
”I thought it was an April Fool’s joke; I couldn’t believe it was true,” Berge said. The Stavanger branch stopped taking cash on May 1st, bringing it in line with company policy. Of Nordea’s 98 branches in Norway, only nine still handle cash. Nordea spokesman Thomas Sevang explained that the bank was in the process of automating all its cash services and was installing new machines for withdrawing and depositing cash across its network.
”He [Berge] has encountered the bank of the future,” said Sevang. But in the bank of the present, none of the deposit machines take dollars, and the bank was not able to say when this would become possible. ”You can take money out of an ATM in either Norwegian or foreign currency,” said Berge. ”The same should apply for deposits. But when that possibility doesn’t exist, it’s a bit early to cut the umbilical cord.”
Sevang said he understood it wasn’t optimal for the customer to have to ask a friend to deposit the dollars in another bank before having the money transferred to his own account. ”We well understand that situations arise in a transition phase that the customer experiences as more troublesome. But this is part of a development that will become easier and easier to deal with. We believe this is the future,” said Sevang.