Banker asks fan why he needs the extra cash, struggles to process the idol-loving response.

A fixed deposit arrangement, in which you agree to leave a certain amount of money in your bank account until an agreed-upon future date, is a simple move to give your savings a little boost. After all, if you’re going to be stashing those funds in your account anyway, why not make the amount official and earn a better interest rate in return?

The downside, though, is less financial flexibility. For Japanese high school teacher and Twitter user @Amada_Ran, his personal weights of the pros and cons changed over time, and eventually reached a tipping point when he found himself wanting some extra cash. So he decided to cancel the fixed deposit he’d previously set up, and went to the bank to fill out the necessary paperwork.

That’s where things got awkward, @Amada_Ran relays below.

When @Amada_Ran told the employee he wanted to cancel his fixed deposit, he wanted to know why. “Could you tell us what you’ll be using the money for instead?” the banker asked. This surprised @Amada_Ran, who asked in return “Why do I need to explain that in order to access my own money?”

“It’s part of our bank’s operating policy, so..,” the banker replied. Figuring a half explanation was as much as he was going to get, @Amada_Ran decided the simplest thing to do was just be completely honest, and so he said:

“I’ll be using the money to financially support an underground idol singer.”

Specifically, @Amada_Ran told the banker he would be supporting a “chika idol,” which literally translates to “underground idol” and generally refers to newly formed, small-scale idol singers/units who haven’t yet built up the reputation necessary for large venues and high-profile tours. But although the banker now had the answer he’d requested, he apparently needed some time to mentally process it. “…Please wait here a moment,” the banker instructed @Amada_Ran, stepping away from where they’d been talking. When he returned 10 minutes later, he once again directed @Amada_Ran’s attention to the paperwork he needed to fill out to cancel the fixed deposit, and told him:

“For the reason you’re cancelling the fixed deposit, please write ‘travel expenses.’”

▼ Is that suitcase filled with idol CDs?

“Are you kidding me?” tweets @Amada_Ran, echoing the mental exasperation at going through the probing only to be told to fudge the final details. Other online commenters chimed in with:

“And after you give him an honest answer and everything…”
“If it had been me, I would have had to say ‘I need the money to buy more anime-style cute girl dolls.”
“You should be free to use your money however you like.”
“Maybe they ask as some sort of fraud prevention protocol?”
“So ‘underground idol’ is no good? Would it have been OK if you’d said it was for a major group like AKB48 or Nogizaka46, or a K-pop girl group of Johnny’s boy band?”

Before piling on the banker too much, though, it’s worth pointing out that he told @Amada_Ran that the bank was asking why he was cancelling the fixed deposit strictly for research/customer feedback reasons, and that no matter what he answered, his request to cancel the arrangement would not be denied. It’s also true that Japan does have its fair share of scam artists, but though fraud prevention might explain why the bank asked why @Amada_Ran was cancelling his fixed deposit, it wouldn’t explain why he was asked to write “travel expenses” instead of the reason he’d verbally given.

Odds are, that final request from the banker has more to do with his, or the bank branch’s, performance reviews. Obviously, it’s better for the bank if customers don’t back out of their fixed deposit contracts mid-way through. At some point, the banker’s boss, or maybe his boss’ boss, is going to be looking at the cancellation paperwork to see what went wrong, and “travel expenses” lets @Amada_Ran’s situation be lumped with other discretionary pleasure expenses for broad statistical analysis, and since “financially supporting an idol” is how fans usually describe going to their concerts and merchandise sales events, it’s not an entirely inaccurate description of what @Amada_Ran would be doing.

But the biggest issue is that no one in the earnest-minded banking industry wants to be known as the guy who failed to convince a client that savings are more important than idols, since it can be hard for people outside the fandom to understand that to the most dedicated idol singer fans, nothing is more important.

Source: Twitter/@Amada_Ran via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
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