With one of the most exciting, vibrant and important traditional Chinese holidays upon us we headed to Sunnybank Hills – a suburb south of Brisbane, bursting at the seams with Chinese culture.
While there, we dropped in to Heritage’s Sunnybank Hills Branch where we heard preparations were well and truly underway for the bank’s local customers. We caught up with Customer Service Supervisor, Michael Ham who let us in on what’s been going on in the lead up to Chinese New Year.
I really enjoy this time of year as I get to learn more about the Chinese culture and also have a bit of fun with our customers who are all in high spirits in the lead up to the festival. Yesterday I was shown how to do a Korean bow during the Chinese New Year celebrations!
Also, I’ve been hoarding brand new, clean notes away for a few months now, knowing our customers will want clean notes to give in their red envelopes, which is a hugely popular tradition. The red colour of the envelope symbolises good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
Red envelopes are not only presented at new year but also at other family or social gatherings and weddings, although it’s really around Chinese New Year that we have a fair few people looking for them.
Traditionally, the amount of money contained in the envelope often ends with an even digit as this is good luck. The amount of money is usually a single note to avoid heavy coins and people generally do not open envelopes in front of relatives out of courtesy.
Everybody is a little different though – there’s different beliefs and customs depending on where you are from.
We’ve had a lot of our business banking customers coming in and organising their finances before the year ends – this includes reviewing accounts and making sure everything is in order and up to date. Our business banking customers are generally very busy people so it’s been nice to be able to help them out as much as possible with sorting their finances and providing them with effective advice going in to the new year.
Many of our customers who celebrate Chinese New Year go away during this time to visit their family – they come from China and surrounding areas such as Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia. With all this travelling, we’ve been quite busy providing advice and organising travel insurance for our customers.
Although the traditional form of handing over money in a red envelope is the most popular way to exchange money we have found some customers are taking advantage of our drafts and telegraphic transfer services to transfer money internationally for Chinese New Year.
Transferring money internationally is simple and all the information is on the Heritage Bank website . People are able to visit their local branch or call the contact centre on 13 14 22 for all of their international transfer needs. All people really need to do is ensure they have an active account with Heritage – which we can also set up for you should you need one.
Chinese New Year can be celebrated differently depending on where you are from – how do you celebrate Chinese New Year?
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