We all know using a bank in Nigeria is tough, and that poor customer service is mostly to blame. From misinformation to general unhelpfulness or simply ignoring your Twitter DMs only to respond a few months after you have resolved the issue. The issues Nigerians have with customer service at Nigerian banks are endless, and so we spoke with 5 Nigerians to share their experiences with it.
It was in Ecobank Abakaliki and the customer service team there was so insensitive. To think that I was just a student then. For some weird reason I couldn’t withdraw, and I had borrowed money from a coursemate with the hope that I’d be able to withdraw from the bank. But when I get there, I still couldn’t withdraw. I was still calm and went to meet the customer service team, they asked me to come back on Monday since it was already Friday. I had no means to go back home and I was going to starve for a whole weekend if I couldn’t access money. Omo, I brought out the Lagos agbero in me and they were instructed to give me 2k from their pockets for me. I gladly accepted and went my way.
Mine wasn’t just the customer service. It was the whole bank. I went there to liquidate my savings last week. The person at the gate allowed me in but the savings lady wasn’t around so I had to wait for her outside. When she arrived, she texted me to come in.
Would you believe that the gateman, the same one who allowed me in earlier, wouldn’t anymore? The dude said I should call the lady and give him the phone to speak with her. I was out of airtime and he was unwilling to use the landline n the wall beside him. He said there was no service to call. Omo at that point, I began screaming. “Madam calm down,” he said. Eventually, he went inside to ask and let me in. When I got to the lady’s table, I realized there was n chair so I asked where I could sit. She shook her head as though it was normal for customers to stand. She shook her fucking head. I looked around and saw that other customers at the customer service department also stood. I overlooked and explained what I came there for. In two minutes, she gave me an answer. Two minutes! In two minutes, she told me what she could have told me on the phone when I called. I asked her why she didn’t give me an answer over the phone instead and she replied, “It’s money we’re talking about here. I had to see you face-to-face.” In the 21st century? It’s like piggyvest asking me to appear at their office because I want to withdraw my funds. I am closing my account with them soon.
So sometime in April 2018 towards the end of my NYSC in Awka, I made a transfer of 60k from my bank to another of my accounts using a different bank’s ATM card. The cash didn’t drop. It was a Thursday I waited till Monday and went to the bank to lodge a complaint. I was asked to wait for 14 working days for it to be reversed. It was my last week in that state so I returned to Abuja. 14 days came, nothing. I went to my bank’s branch in Utako to lodge another complaint and I was told, they did not lodge any complaint of that sort previously. So I had to wait for another 14 days. The 14 days came again and nothing so this time I started calling their customer care lines literally every day, and they would either they not pick or they wouldn’t give a reasonable explanation. This back and forth and numerous bank visits would go on for five months and it wasn’t until I threatened to drag my bank online before they decided to take action. Still, I had to wait for another 3 weeks before they reversed the money.
I had an encounter with GTB when I wanted to pay my JAMB fees. I’m not and will never be a fan of that bank but it was the closest at the time. On getting there, I asked where to go for payment and I was directed upstairs. I was on the queue for about an hour before I was attended to. I then told the cashier that I wanted to pay using Remita and she said “we don’t use Remita.” I told her that I asked from the help desk downstairs and she insisted they don’t. I almost cried because it didn’t make any sense to me.
Another experience happened when my mom wanted to hand over my account since she opened it for me when I was a child. First Bank did me wicked. I wrote letters, filled forms, was asked to bring this and that, I went there like three times that week. When I thought I’d start getting alerts, my mom got them instead. At this point, I was ready to go there to fight. But, before I could show them my fighting skills, the lady who attended to me called and was like she needed me to bring my valid ID card that she was sorry she forgot to collect it the last time I came. By the time I went the day she told me to come, I was told that she was writing an exam so I had to go the next day again.
So when I was in Nsukka in 2017, my dad sent me cash for rent, and my account was blocked because it was a student account and the 90k had exceeded the 50k single deposit limit. I was not told all this when I opened the account initially. I went to the GTB in Nsukka, laid my complaint and the woman asked me to bring my documents to confirm that I was the account owner. I had just started schooling there and had not been issued a school ID but I had my acceptance letter, jamb print out, and local government ID. Presented all this to her and this woman said that without the school ID she could not help me. Meanwhile, my landlady was already threatening to give the place out to someone else.
The customer care lady checked my BVN, confirmed I was the account holder, looked at my other documents saw that everything matched, and told me that the only thing she could do for me was to close the account. When she found out that I had opened the account in Port Harcourt, she said that she could not help again because I could only close the account at my opening branch. That’s how I borrowed 10k and made the trip to PH the next day. Got there and these people took a good 3 days, 5 if you include the weekend to close this account and give me my funds. By the time I got back, the landlady had rented the apartment to someone else and I had to start looking for another place from scratch.