Banksâ€™ customers have demanded improved electronic banking services and better customer relations from their banks in 2010.A cross section of banksâ€™ customers interviewed by Financial Vanguard on what they expectÂ Â from their banks in the new year conducted listedÂ poor ATM and internet banking services as the greatest shortcomings of their banks in 2009.
TheyÂ also listed poor customers relations, lack of adequate staff in meeting the human traffic in banking halls as well as extra-legal charges in transactions among others.In his own view, Mr Patrick Ezeakacha, a customer with GTBank Plc said that though all banks have their own shortcoming, GTBank PLC should enhance its ATM system and amend the time it spends in attending to customersâ€™ problems. Sharing his experience, he said, â€œ
â€œThere was a time my ATM was stuck in one of GTBankâ€™s branches, I lodge my complaint and was told that it would take 12 hours for it to be rectified. When the 12 hours elapsed, I went back there only to be told to fill a form and wait another 24 hours,Â which I did and yet to no avail.Â I had to complain bitterly the following day before a staff came out to finally attend to me. And within the next 15 minutes my card was retrieved and returned to me. Thus something of 15 minutes took 2 days to work on.â€ The issue of long queue in GTBank is frustrating said Mr Lucky-James Umem, a businessman .
He said â€œThough on the average Guaranty Trust Bank Plc is fairly doing well in meeting customersâ€™ challenges. But there is the problem of long queues which are always frustrating most time. This might not be unconnected with slow pace in attending to customers need.â€
Mr Patrick also disapproves the habit of the bank making across the counter charges for withdrawals made with withdrawal slips. He feels one should have the alternative of having an individual withdrawal
slip, just like other banks, to make withdrawals when ATM operation is unavailable and without any sundry charges.
Mr Lucky-James who also has an account with Oceanic bank Plc lamented the degree of service rendered by the bank. He blamed this on the long queue usually witnessed at the Automated Teller Machine centre and inside the banking hall.
â€œThis is coupled with not too spacious banking halls and parking lots. It is even worsened by the slow pace in attending to customers even as it is difficult to locate the customers care unit in the bank. There are even occasions when this large human traffick makes the banking hall very hot andÂ because their air conditioners hardly work, the environment becomes absolutelyÂ unconducive to stay in,â€ he said.Â Mrs Adekamnbi Gbeminiyi, a graduate and an Oceanic bank customer however expressed satisfaction with the serives of the bank and noted that the long queuesÂ might not be unconnected increasedÂ customer patronage more than whatÂ halls and staff of the bank can contain at a time.
In his own observation, Francis Ibeabuchi, a student and customer with Bank PHB Plc,Â described the bankâ€™s internet services as nothing other than being too poor which inadvertently affects the ATM services.
â€œOn many occasions when I go to the bank to cash money in their ATM machines, there is usually this problem of â€˜your financial institution is unavailableâ€™ response from the Automated Teller Machine.
Their were even many times between August and September last year that the bankâ€™s internet was absolutely down that one cannot carry out a withdrawal transaction. I had even witness many cases where when I am sent money for my upkeep in school, it would take some couple of days for the money to be posted into my account. The bankâ€™s SMS alert is an issue of worry. I have noticed several occasions where a wrong SMS is sent to me other than the actual transaction I have carried out.â€
â€œI am also yet to understand why the bank charges me Value Added Tax monthly from my account when as a student and not working, I am not subjected to paying a tax.â€
Mr Obioma Henry, Engineer, a First Bank Customer also expressed dissatisfaction withÂ the ATM services of banks. He said he has had several disappointing moments trying to use the bankâ€™s ATM most especially when he needs it very urgently. He said, â€œ There was a time I wanted to travel and I rushed down to use the bankâ€™s ATM only to be told insufficient fund in their machine. And this has happened on several occasions.â€
On his part, Mr Chukwujindu Gabriel, a student and customer of Diamond Bank is not only worried about the bankâ€™s poor ATM servicesÂ but also the bankâ€™s inability to notify its customers on new policies before making any deductions from their accounts.
â€œ Though thisÂ issue of un-notified deductions are witnessed in most banks, yet itâ€™s uncalled for any deduction to be made without or before seeking the consent or knowledge of their depositors. I noticed a recent deduction from my account and tried to seek the rationale behind it only to be told that I need a minimum of N5000 in that particular savings account for thereÂ not to be any deduction. I wasnâ€™t notified prior the deduction.â€
â€œAlso, their branches are not widely spread like other banks. For example in Enugu metropolis, the bank has about two or three branches which thereby reduces availability of banking services to their customers,â€ he stressed.
Some of the banksâ€™ customers interviewed said they would want the ongoing banking reforms by the CBN translating to improved services in the industry. They specifically expressed desire for banks to deploy more ATM in theirÂ premises even as they expect much more ATM services in strategic locations â€œEateries, hotels, market places, etc. This the respondents said would help quicken transactions.â€
â€œ This will also stop me paying charges using other banksâ€™ ATM if my bankâ€™s ATM are scattered everywhere and within proximityâ€,Â said Mr Chukwujindu.
MrÂ Ibeabuchi disclosed that he would like his bank to upgrade its internet system so that when transactions are initiated, they are posted to the destinations and communicated to the account users instantly. Mr Peter Ekeh, an accountant and a customer of United Bank for Africa (UBA)Â said he would also like the bank to work on their internet system so that the frequentlyÂ network breakdowns which many times hinder transactions, will be a thing of the past.
Mr Justice Uwakpe, a Civil Engineer and also customer of United of Bank for Africa (UBA)however said he is satisfied with the ATM charges per month of the bank unlike some other banks that charge per withdrawal.
Bank customers would also like their respective banks to overhaul their operational system which include their workforce to cater for their growing customers with a bid to reducing the amount of time delayed in attending to customers and establish cordial relationship with them.
They said they would also want the banks to duly notify them on any recent development that might lead to new charges on their accounts and, also notify them after such charges no matter how minimal it is.