Wow, this bank sure makes an impression on me and it isn't good.
The "Volks" in Volksbanken means "people"
in English. I get the brush-off at the "peoples bank".
The seven-story, 1960's-style building stands one block from
the Vienna Stock Exchange. Adjacent is another company building.
Revenues last year were 874 million Euros with 2,600 employees.
The company's Website (www.volksbank.at) is only in German.
I explain to the English-speaking security guard/receptionist
that I sent a letter of introduction a month earlier to Mr. Thalhammer,
Chairman-Board of Management. He makes a few calls and a Mr.
Maly comes to the lobby. Maly, who works in electronic card systems
sales, has zero knowledge of my trek but was commandeered to
the lobby because he speaks English. It's Thursday and after
explaining what I do and leaving news clippings I ask if he could
track down my letter of introduction and I'd check back next
Monday I return only to learn from the two security guards manning
the desk that they've been instructed to say that nobody is interested
in meeting with me. Huh? I ask the guards if I could speak to
Mr. Thalhammer, his secretary or Mr. Maly. "No" is