Thursday, February 07, 2008

Nigerian banking scorecard: e minus

Why are Nigerian banks taking so long to get their act together? My own bank continually frustrates: a cheque I sent has just bounced even though there is enough money in my account. I think there must be a limit on the amount I can send (even though I don't know what it is and no one has thought to tell me). My account manager's phone is dead - I'm not really sure how to rectify the situation - where to go, who to call... No matter how many times I send cheques, there is no mechanism for building trust with customers (unless you are the million dollar variety).

My small-scale woes reflect the bigger picture. Unless you're a large corporate customer, Nigerian banks are simply not really interested in your business. Forget about an overdraft facility or a loan (unless you love double digit interest payments), let alone business advice. Many banks' internal financial management systems are woeful, and would fail the most basic adequacy test in terms of their internal financial systems and controls. We are still a long way from e-commerce or being able to do anything substantial online. Many banking halls are little more than cattle markets, with customers pressing up against each other, jostling to get to the front of the queue, in each other's business. Computer systems continually break down, putting ATM and basic operations out across the bank's network. Its all still quite a mess. There needs to be much more stringent regulation and guidance. There's too much big money swilling around for the banks here to care about ordinary folks.


Hassan,  9:28 am  

spot on.

ababoypart2 11:30 am  

I almost thought you were talking about Natwest. I think you have this nailed on. I don't have 1st hand experience, but I have been told that Nigerian banking isn't still up to scratch.

adeyemi,  1:17 pm  

I have bank accounts in 6 different african countries and Nigeria must be the worst. Although I get relatively ok service nowadays, i still have strong memories of maltreatment when I was starting with GTB and Zenith. They were really nasty and one cashier even told me to carry my market elsewhere. Of course, as soon as I had enough money, I promptly did . They don't have a sense that the small man today might becoem the big man tomorrow. There's need to be a campaign against them - to wake them up.

Anonymous,  4:22 pm  

I disagree. Banking in Nigeria is so far advanced from when I first moved here in 2004.

Back then my local Zenith was a cattle market, now we have orderly queues and no pushing and shoving.

I can now pay my Starcomms, MTN, Multichoice bills online with no fuss. The online service works well and makes your account easy to manage.

Every time I make a transaction I get an immediate email so I can always see what my wife is doing! (thanks to blackberry)

I have a card which allows me to withdraw from an ATM and also pay at many shops.

There is now a branch in every neighbourhood...too many almost!

Customer Service can be improved but that is not just a banking issue in Nigeria.

true they have not yet grasped the idea of manageable loans but still they have advanced a long long way.

My report would be solid progress, keep developing.

mypenmypaper 11:23 am  

the bad thing about Nigerian banks is that they feel they are doing customers a favor. Most of them dont have a customer waiting area, with enough seats. Those that have just provide like 4-seats for a queue of 20-people.

My ATM is still not working:

Anonymous,  11:24 am  

um..anon, methinks i should be banking w zenith!
i am sentimental about my bank ( which shall remain nameless), because i opened my account when i was a fresh faced lass, recently relocated back to home country in 1992.
Everytime (once a month on average) i have a frustrating experience with them, i tell myself that thats it, the relationship is over yada yada, and still, only because of sentiment i stay, because realy, they are are quite dodgy and incompetent. started tis post with a litany of things to rant about concerning my bank, and then realised a) i dont have the energy and b) i guess i am the sucker that stays, cos no one is making me stay.
gosh! how like the battered wife who stays with her husband "because of the kids" do i sound?

Anonymous,  10:35 pm  

i use zenith as well. I also use UBA. zenith is the best naija bank for me. UBA is good because it has a branch in new york as well

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