an unfortunate conclusion: banking in Nigeria is a financial risk

Its unfortunate to state that I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion above.

UBA ordeal-1) Its almost 1–year(April 21,2008) since I blogged about the issue with my UBA ATM card. It is still unresolved. I believe the UBA would have gotten many customers since then that my complaint, should I raise it now would be totally unrealistic.

GTB ordeal-2) Then I started with GTB, and got stuck because my card prompts me with multiple account numbers, two of which aren’t mine. Its funny to state that I have even written and submitted at the GTB a formal letter, stating my name, my correct account number and phone-number, and stating the problem with my card, and yet, no one in the whole GTB management has bothered to reply or even take action against my ATM card.

How I wish I could get the name and phone number of GTBs top management, perhaps I could get some of the staff in the branch where I submitted my letter fired for negligence of duty.

Lord, lead us not into temptation: has God buttered my bread and I’m the one dragging my feet as much as Gods provision is sizzling hot? If I was a lawyer, perhaps I could sue the GTB them for damages, with the charges defined as MISINFORMATION LEADING TO FINANCIAL TEMPTATION especially in these hard times. I could have since withdrawn all the money from the other two accounts that weren’t mine.

BANK PHB ordeal-3) It was after receiving this email from Bank PHB that I started thinking about opening an account with them. Ok, so I went to one of their branches, and guess what: they gave me an account number, ATM card and PIN number right on the first day. This one is really funny because they already have these account numbers/ATM cards in envelopes, so should you come and make enquiries, they’ll just hand one over to you, give you a deposit slip and ask you to go and pay in any amount (NGN500.00 – Five Hundred Naira, inclusive) into the account number, and hurrayyy, you have opened an account.

The card does not bear the owners name, neither is there any correlation between the account number I was given and the ATM card number. Anyway, I opened an account with NGN1,000.00 (one thousand Naira). With the whole process so flimsy, all I could think about was the numerous possible loopholes in the PHB system that would make customers have unresolvable issues with their accounts. What if I exited the bank after collecting the ATM card without making any deposit. Who looses in terms of resources? BankPHB.

question: if the ATM card is stolen, how do I re-claim ownership, as I cannot memorize the card number, and how many people can do the same? Should bank PHB ATM department make mistakes in keying in my details, I could as well be depositing money into another person’s account and vice-versa; withdrawing from another customers account and vice-versa.

Oceanic ordeal-4) I’m sorry to state that the ARE in my post titled: good things are happening at Oceanic Bank should be changed to WERE. Oceanic Bank is a no go area if you are looking for Customer service, especially with their failed ATMs. I was at a branch recently where I wanted to cash some money. The ATM outside was down, there was even a ‘temporarily available’ notice over it. So I went inside for the transaction and the lady at the counter did not bother infoming me about service charges since I was withdrawing over the counter. I pointed her to the notice outside and all she could advice me to do was to go and come back later in the day or tomorrow after the ATM is fixed. When I heard that, t’was as if I was slapped.

 

Last but not the least:

I’m wondering if there is a monitoring / governing body for Nigerian banks besides the CBN, where Nigerians can complain of banking services? Just in case you’ve observed and wondered like I have always wondered: how do Nigerian Banks find the financial resources to spread their branches around like rice and beans?, here are some conclusions I’ve come to:

a) Credit / Debit alert service charge: the average Nigerian bank does not inform customers of credit alert, however they inform about debit alert, and yet customers are chaged for both(credit and debit alert). The number of credit/debit alerts in a month is not commensurate to activity in/on the account, yet customers pay for the service. Example: If there is no credit/debit activity in my account in a whole month, I am still charged for the service.

b) Over the counter withdrawal service charges: My Oceanic experience was one. Here is another: I saw a notice in another bank about service charges if any amount less than NGN100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) is withdrawn over the counter. The whole banking hall was full to the brim, of people wanting to withdraw, but my business there was to deposit some money into an account, which I did at the depositting section without much stress. On my way out I met a friend who had come to withdraw some cash. He told me he’d came inside because the ATM outside wasn’t working. Thats when I reminded him about the banks notice. He affirmed he saw it, but concluded: wetin man go do.

I think its a cool wealth generation idea: collect service charges for services not rendered. I could as well go open my own bank.

c) Inter-Bank ATM withdrawal charges: the idea is to collect service charges if customers withdraw money from an ATM of another bank. Example: service charges are deducted from my GTB account if I make a withdrawal from a Zenith bank ATM machine. Fine, we understand that the transaction passes through the InterSwitch exchange, but the question is: under what conditions would I make a withdrawal from another banks ATM? here are sample answers:

  • if the ATM of my bank is DOWN. Note: its either the general network is down, the branch’s network is down or the ATM is faulty, but anyway, if my bank has a nearby branch whose ATM is down and I’m forced to transact my business at another bank’s ATM. Is this my fault? No, so why the service charges?
  • if a branch of my bank isn’t close by – ‘Isn’t close by’ is relative, but why did you go inside the bush and expect to make a withdrawal from a Diamond Bank account? With so few branches, a lot of service charges are generated from Diamond Bank account holders who make ATM withdrawals through other bank’s ATMs. The only word I can think of right now is: Revenue Generation.
  • This post on Nairaland calls them Automated Thieving Machines, and Yes, its the reality. There are some ATMs in some special areas around Lagos, that’ll embarass you. I’ve been warned of some as no go ATMs. They’ll release your card back to you but won’t give you any money, and yet, your account will be debited. Embarrassment is what you’ll get when you go inside the bank to report(sorry for you if it occured during the weekend), only for your complaint to be processed for 3–working weeks. Thank your starts if you get the money back.

You can continue from here.

Anyway, I’m of the opinion that if only Mallams could get their acts together, they could make good banks.

 

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6 responses

  1. Hi,

    i am not only in reciept of n umerous scam messages from this guy but also have a regular spam recieved from a ‘nigerian bank’ and also from so called solicitors chasing me cause my surname (butcher) is the same as a deceased ‘baxter’ or ’smith’ ot sure how they got my details but am seriously considering a new email addresss to avoid them…ATM Machines

  2. Welcome to the Nigerian financial system. Cant bank with UBA even if I was paid to open an account .

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  4. hello sir,

    just saw your comment today. Sorry, it has been in my spam-comment queue.

    Kindly do not reply such scam messages and should you receive any buisness offer from a Nigerian bank or company, google.com is the best place to start. You might want to mail agencies in Nigeria such as the EFCC(www.efccnigeria.org), the CBN(www.cenbank.org), or the Cooporate Affairs Commission(www.cac.gov.ng) to verify details of the company/ies, bank/s etc., before doing buisness with such.

    Changing your email address is definitely the best place to start, with the surnname issue you’ve mentioned.

    thanks for dropping by sir.
    NTT Admin

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