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[MUST READ]: Dear Bank….. Good Service Does Matter !!!

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A couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to my bank to raise a bank draft as payment for goods I planned to receive from a major Nigerian FMCG I distribute for.  As I stepped into the banking hall I knew it was going to be a very ‘long thing’ to get the draft because of the large crowd of angry looking customers I met waiting to be served.

I joined the queue and noticed that the bank cashier was engrossed in a conversation with her colleagues, seems totally oblivious to the growing impatience of her waiting customers. I instinctively knew the bank was having some sort of system challenge and asked the dude ahead of me on the queue if he knew what was going on. His answer confirmed my fears…’They say their network is down’. Well, since it was important I submit the payment draft that day, I had no choice but to wait and hope the issue would soon be resolved.

As time passed so did our patience and after 2 hours comments like ‘stupid bank’ ‘all they know is to collect money from people’s accounts’ were being murmured audibly. The situation was not helped by the lack of reliable information regarding how long it would take to fix the problem, the seemingly lack of empathy by the bank staff and to make matters worse, the banking hall was unpleasantly hot as the few functioning air conditioners seemed incapable of addressing the amount of body heat being generated in the enclosed space.

It wasn’t long afterwards before we heard madam teller scream at the person in front of the queue in frustration, ‘Madam, I told you, the system is down. They are working on it and I do not know when they will finish. If you can’t wait, go and come back later’. The crude nature of this response was too much and several angry customers confronted her with some harsh words, which she proceeded to respond to in kind with more venom. Before long it was a shouting match with almost everyone getting involved.

‘Is this a bank?’ someone said aloud and I couldn’t but wonder how a financial institution registered on the Nigerian Stock Market could offer such crappy service in today’s digital age.

An hour later (3 hours and 25 minutes after I walked into the bank) and the system came back online to cheers from the waiting customers and smiles of superiority from the staff. It was a scene reminiscence of people shouting ‘Up NEPA’ when the electric authorities provided power in the late 80ies. I heard ‘Next customer’, walked over to the counter and the cashier said ‘Yes!’.  ‘No greeting, no apology for the delay…. Nothing’.  So, I handed over my cheque with the instruction to issue a draft clearly written behind it. She looked at the cheque, scrutinized my handwriting and signature, then smiled suddenly and responded ‘Your cheque leaf is old and not NUBAN compliant’. At this point, all I could say was which one is NUBAN complaint again now?. She completely ignored my response and went on to narrate one long story about bank policy which I didn’t even hear. I was livid and let her know in very clear terms what I thought about her, the bank and all their policies. As my voice grew louder, the Branch Manager appeared from her high tower to calm the storm. ‘It is now this one knows she will appear. ‘Rubbish!’ exclaimed one customer. She apologized and instructed the cashier to treat my transaction. I then witnessed a miracle of biblical proportions as a transaction that was earlier impossible due to bank policy now became possible. I let out a big sigh of relief and waited humbly for the cashier to conclude my transaction. It took another 30 minutes before I was handed my draft and I rushed out of the banking hall before some other evil would rear its head.

On my way out, I could not help but wonder how most banks in Nigeria offered poor service. I mean it’s a no-brainer that excellent service is the hallmark of any successful organization regardless of their financial standing. Lost in thought, a gentleman interrupted my contemplation saying ‘the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. All banks in Nigeria are the same, they offer crappy service and debit you with hidden charges to grow their profit’. I smiled, shook my head and bid him adieu as I pondered on the truism of his words.

Last week, I accompanied a friend to a Zenith Bank branch to perform the same transaction, having introduced him to the distributorship business. Mentally prepared for another harrowing experience we cleared security and entered the banking hall. Banking halls are banking halls in Nigeria and I was expecting to be greeted by a large group of customers in a room where the air conditioning unit was not working. Oh! Was I wrong; the hall was well lit, quiet and the ambience was indescribable. The staff were professional and the transaction was done in record time. For the first time in a long while, I was reluctant to leave the banking hall and step into Lagos’s harsh sun. I began pondering what I had been doing putting up with the inefficiencies of my own bank for so long and asked what it would take to open a Zenith Bank account. The requirements were straightforward though I had to come back the next day with the documents I didn’t have on me then.

So, I’ve been a Zenith Bank customer for almost a week now and it’s nice knowing some banks are aligning with international best practices in service delivery. To my old bankers, I say…Yes, Good Service does matter. Please don’t call me… I’m going to my Zenith.

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How To Prevent Unauthorised Transactions On Your Zenith Card Or Token If Stolen [MUST READ]

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Has your mobile phone, Zenith Bank Card or Token been stolen or misplaced?

You can prevent any unauthorized transactions on your account by simply dialing 966911#.

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BUSINESS

Heirs Holdings Signs $600 million Loans With Afrexim Bank, To Scale Its Energy Investments

Gbemileke Ajayi

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As a further demonstration of the African Export-Import Bank’s (“Afrexim”) mandate to facilitate the growth of intra-Africa trade and support the development of African businesses, Afrexim today, signed financing facilities totalling US$600 million with the Heirs Holdings Group, a pan-African proprietary investment holding company.

Heirs Holdings has significant investments across Africa, in the financial services, resources, real estate and hospitality and power sectors. The facilities will further support the Group’s power, oil and gas strategy, as it positions itself as an African leader in integrated natural resources. The signing ceremony took place at the Afrexim Intra-Africa Trade Conference taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The proceeds of the facilities will assist the Heirs Holdings Group vision of creating a dynamic resource based division, focused on ensuring value creation occurs on the African continent and that value chains are developed, that directly benefit the broader African economy and consumer.

Commenting at the ceremony, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afrexim who signed on behalf of the Bank, stated that the investment by Heirs Holdings would play a key role in addressing some of the fundamental challenges that have affected the power and energy sectors in Africa. He stated that “A world class energy sector is fundamental to the sustainable growth of businesses in Africa. If we do not deal with these basic matters, growth of trade and exports will always be limited”.

Mr. Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented that “We are delighted to be partnering with Afrexim. The Bank continues to play a critical role in the economic and social development of the continent. Together, we illustrate that Africa can create world class institutions, which are capable of successfully making the long-term investments necessary for Africa’s economic transformation and catalyse the enabling environment that will unleash Africa’s potential”.

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UBA Academy Gets CIBN Accreditation for Excellence in Training, Capacity Building

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In recognition of its high standard, quality of human resources development, training and capacity building, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria(CIBN) has certified and awarded UBA Academy the certificate of accreditation in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Competency Framework for the banking industry .

UBA Academy, the dedicated learning and development centre of the Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, was accorded the new recognition of excellence at a ceremony presided over by the President/Chairman of Council of the institute, Dr. Uche Olowu in Lagos on Thursday.

According to the president of the institute, UBA Academy was conferred with the new status having met the rigorous standards set for the delivery of their suites of programmes by the Institute.

The certification follows rigorous assessment exercise carried out by the institute’s Capacity Building Committee, the accreditation agency under the competency framework for the country’s banking and finance industry instituted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“This Accreditation is an affirmation that UBA Academy has adopted and complied with the minimum assessment standards for programmes run by the organisation, which have gained a label of recognition and distinction,” Olowu said.

According to him the accreditation of UBA Academy would enable its graduates to be eligible for exemptions from various subjects in the banking professional examinations thereby facilitating their completion of the Chartered Banker examination. “This will not only enable them comply with the provisions of the Competency Framework for the banking industry, it will go a long way in the strengthening of the intellectual resources and capabilities available in their institutions,” he concluded.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Bank’s Group Head Human Resources, Mrs Patricia Aderibigbe, while appreciating the recognition conferred on the UBA Academy, said the academy has already embarked on training for the future with digitisation of its training programmes and modules.

“With Ignite, UBA has taken training into the future as we believe that the only way to get the best results and continually stay ahead of the curve is to continually sharpen our most important asset – our people, using mobile technology,” Aderibigbe said.

Aderibigbe promised that UBA Academy will continuously seek improvement in ensuring that it serves the needs of industry in a changing banking industry.

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