Going forward, ibank will be publishing our readers experience with Banks in Nigeria as it relates to services rendered in these banks. Below is a reader’s piece and her take on Nigerian Banks. Do feel free to send yours.
Banking in Nigeria has become a lot better due to the massive overhaul in the industry in the recent years.Gone are the days that you'll put your money in the bank and go home living in constant fear not knowing what will be in the news next and as such, developing anxiety over your money. Banks in Nigeria are now better than before and it seems like the development is here to stay.
Nowadays, you can walk into the bank and expect world class services, complete with an improved quality of customer service. Although this is not always the case, it's a lot better than back in the day when you'll be greeted with an array of horrible services once you step into the banking hall. This improvement in the banking sector is largely due to the need banks have to outdo each other.
An example of this is the great advancement in mobile banking in most, if not all, of the banks in Nigeria. These days, you hardly need to walk into a bank to carry out a transaction, almost all banking transactions can be done from the comfort of your home at any given time of the day. While striving to be the best bank in Nigeria, some banks seem to be taking the front role while others are comfortable as spectators due to factors such as poor customer services, poor internet banking, poor management and poor facilities in general.
This can be seen in the incompetence of GTBank's mobile banking portal, i.e. *737. Many have complained about how terrible the service is most of the time, especially when you're in dire need to get money across to someone. When you make a request for the transfer, the money is debited from your account but doesn’t make it to the beneficiary and when you call the complaint centre, they will first of all feign ignorance and then inform you that the money will be reversed in 72hrs, not minding if it was an urgent business and you don't have enough money in your account to make the transfer again while waiting for the first one to be reversed. I know of someone who has lost over ₦200,000.00 (accumulated over time) through the GTB mobile banking portal, and nothing was done about it despite several complaints to the bank. He has since closed his account with GT Bank as a result of this.This is terrible on the part of GT Bank and has to be looked into. Asides this, GTB can be classified as among the best banks in Nigeria, with their world class international services.
The same can be said about FirstBank. Although they are an old generation bank with sometimes rusty infrastructures, they have worked hard to be in the same league as the new generation banks, even surpassing some of them with high caliber services and modern branches spread across the nation. They are the most improved bank in Nigeria as far as I am concerned, compared to where they were before. However, they are always plagued with network issues which is largely due to the overwhelming customer base of the bank and limited technology to accommodate the service requirement. I have once had to wait inside the bank for 6hrs just to withdraw ₦250,000.00 over the counter due to network issues and I couldn't leave because I needed the money to pay for something very important that day. On their Firstmonie mobile app, I have not been able to register my account with that app despite several complaints and the worst of it all is withdrawing money from the ATM; you rarely withdraw money from the ATM without encountering network issues, especially if it's a non FirstBank ATM.
Customer service is another aspect that has improved in the Nigerian banking sector. Customer service in Nigeria was always known to be poor and unsatisfactory. The cashiers, who are the first point of contact when any customer enters the banking hall, have always been known to provide bad quality services to most of their customers. The banking staff have been accused of paying quality attention to only customers they perceive to be “rich” and beneficial to their bank and to their personal purse. Customers have always complained about the lack of professionalism exhibited by these bank staff while carrying out their activities. They have been criticized for being rude, arrogant and unhelpful towards their customers. On many occasions, customers have been made to wait for a long period of time just to be assisted with a minor matter, and when they do,they act like they are being disturbed.
The specific elements of customer service are speed of delivery, consistency of delivery and generally working with customers towards achieving their banking needs. Most of these banks now provide customer service that is designed to retain customers and attract new ones by satisfying their banking needs through the provision of appropriate services. One way they do this is by regular monitoring of customer complaints and suggestions and addressing their needs. Feedback channels are provided; showing that these banks are willing to improve on their services and implement the banking needs of their customers. A satisfied customer not only comes back but also spreads the news of his satisfaction to others.
The common problem banking customers seem to face now is this issue of banks illegally withdrawing money from customers’ accounts with the guise of one service charge or another that doesn't seem to make sense. When you query them about it, the person you are speaking to is never the person in charge of that particular department. They will claim to transfer you to the appropriate department and keep you on hold for so long that you will have no choice than to end the call.
All the banks are known to be party to this downright criminal activity and they need to put a stop to it.
Another fraudulent activity Nigerians are facing with banks is the issue of banks charging the black market rate when you make payment in dollars online, transfer money to someone abroad or withdraw from the ATM abroad with your Nigerian debit card. When in actual sense, they should be using CBN exchange rates. This problem is really affecting international students, business men/women, holiday makers and so on who rely on the dollar.
Despite the much improvements in the banking sector in Nigeria, there is still a lot of work to be done. I understand the current predicaments of banks but their activities should still be legal and moral and aimed towards ensuring a wonderful service delivery.