Friday, 5 December 2014

Unvelling Nigerian Customers Unfriendly Banks

...How Access Bank led some others to Inflict Unimaginable Hardship on the People

Aig Imokhuede
Putting into consideration the much talked about Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy, it will be right to point accusing finger at some banks for working assiduously towards frustrating the move by their act. Why will people now not resort back to keeping their money away from banks with the indiscriminate way the banks frustrate depositors who are making use of their ATM machines?

The CBN had some years back, embarked on sensitization of the people on the need to shelve the habit of moving around with huge amount of money. The project, which is known as the “Cashless Policy”, was given a trial run in Lagos; the economic capital of the country and it was deemed a success. This informed the decision to adopt the policy nationwide. The adoption was seen by many as a mistake as there have been so many lapses noticed in the Lagos trial run that is giving the people some sleepless night. The most common of which is the fact that, many had become stranded for going cash-light due to network problem as their banks are said not to have service when they are supposed to make withdrawals. It is believed that in the countries where the cashless policy is being used such network problem hardly ever happened.

Another of the problems militating against the policy is the attitude of some banks and their response to customers’ complaints. Chief among these crops of banks is Aig Imokhuede led Access Bank. Investigation reveals that the indiscriminate way at which this bank’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is deducting money from people’s account without payment is forcing most people around them to have a rethink about using the Access Bank ATM machine. This is because the bank’s response to such complaints usually takes a minimum of 5 months, while some would have ended up forfeiting the money to the bank.

In the cause of investigation on this practice by the Access Bank, it was reliably gathered that the brutish practice of the bank has even been extended to customers of the bank's customers inherited from Intercontinental Bank. Some customers of the old Intercontinental bank while speaking to Society Gazette, narrated how they find it difficult to sometimes access the same privileges other customers of the bank enjoys.

According to another customer of the Access bank, her problem is the indicriminate deduction of the bank on the account she's operating with the bank, she explained that after the take over of Intercontinental bank she decided not to run the account again because of all sort of deduction which the bank customer service department said is for maintaining the account and after she decided not to run the account again the deduction still continue unabated, she state that money is being deducted from the account even for the sms they sends to her for deducting her money even when the account is dormant.

Another of the bank customer also complained that the bank ATM also seize his money without it been reversed for like four months, which has left him in a tight position. He explained further that the bank has in the last four months removed N20, 000 on two different occasions amounting to N40, 000. This according to him is telling on him, owning to the fact that he needs all money he could get for his project.

Godwin Emefiele
Though Access bank is not the only Nigerian bank whose practices seems aimed at putting a clog in the wheels of the CBN policy of moving about with less cash than needed. Their stand however, has so far been the one with most telling effect on the people. Others are the First Bank, Diamond Bank, Skye Bank to mention but few.

Also, talking about First bank; the oldest bank in the country, the bank is known to be fond of making their customers wish there is no public holidays as the network of the bank is known to always suffers breakdown a day to any public holiday. This has on several occasions left many of their customers stranded. The bank was also accused of making sure that not all the ATM at their galleries is always working. This is said to be the reason there is usually queue at all the bank’s ATM points.

Likewise, the Access bank, Diamond and Skye banks are also accused of delaying the reversal of money deducted from their customers’ account. Diamond bank is said to have thousands on the queue on the order of first come first serve. This is a situation that also did not get to receive serious consideration from the bank as it will take as long as six (6) months to come to have their case treated before their money can be repatriated into their account. This informed the reason why some of those that were affected to conclude that the bank may be using their money to run some other business while they will not be paid any interest for the delay.

However, the refusal of the baking industry to grow at the same pace and their little care about customer relation may have presented itself an opportunity for some of their fraudulent staffs to perpetrate countless successful fraudulent acts. This has enabled them cart away hard earned money of customers placed in the care of the banks. This is evident in the various cases of fraud against staffers of many of these financial institutions as recorded by both the Police and the EFCC.

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