BancABC: stale thinking, dull banking

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Ed Masau had a terrible experience at the hands of BancABC. In his own words:

I got the shock of my life on Sunday 24 March 2013 when l had ordered some grocery for breakfast just before going to church. I was in a supermarket and l intended to use my BancABC card to buy the groceries. I had left $50.00 of my hard earned money in my account for moments like these when l will be looking forward to the next pay day which was Monday the 25th March 2013. My card was swiped 3 times and the till operator then gave up and said are you sure there is money in your account. I was adamant l had left money in there. Dejected l walked out of the supermarket with no groceries and l decided to go to BancABC Samora Machel branch fortunately they now open half day on Sundays.

The bank has come of age in terms of opening times and the ambience in the banking halls. Since inception it has shown an inclination towards “fresh thinking and smart banking” their brilliant tag line. I became a customer of BancABC in mid 2011 via the Msasa branch after having been enticed by the lure of a personal loan which haunted me this particular Sunday morning that l am talking about. To prove that l fell in love with this bank in 2012 l opened a second account with them. Things were going on well, we had our rough moments especially with Lilyosa at Msasa but nothing out of the ordinary to write home about.

In the banking hall at Samora Machel branch I spoke to Maureen at the enquiry desk. I explained to her that there is no money in my account but l had left $50.00 in there on the 19th March 2013 which was the last time l had transacted. She told me that the money had been wiped out because they had debited my account the previous day for a personal loan that l have with them. I told her that my agreement with their bank is that they deduct the loan on the 25th of each month when l get paid by my employer. I needed the money to buy groceries for my family to last us for one more day before pay day. I explained all this to her but Maureen was indifferent; she didn’t care a bit for me. She was not moved by my plight. Her advice was simply that l should talk to people at Msasa branch the next day because there was nothing she could do for me.

I was dejected and stood there for a good 2 minutes not knowing what to do and what to tell my family which was waiting for breakfast goodies before going for Sunday service. I walked out frustrated and not knowing what to do. I composed myself as l got into my car and called my friend Washie who came to my rescue in the form of a soft loan. I tweeted about my ordeal on Monday morning and one of my friends Tasara commented that he had faced the same predicament at the hands of BancABC. His was such a sad story. He needed money to buy medication for one of his relatives and had another relative send him the money. BancABC decided to get their loan from this money before waiting for his salary to go through. The inconvenience was unbearable. If this happened to Tasara and me, what could have happened to many other customers out there? Food for thought!

I wander why they give salary guaranteed loans and decide to debit accounts before the agreed date arrives. This is clearly stale thinking and dull banking; looking after the bank’s interests with no regard whatsoever for their customers’ interests. I was prepared to suffer in silence without writing about this, if it wasn’t for events that occurred on the Monday evening.

I work an 8 to 5 job which means the only time l can go to the bank is after 5pm. I went to Samora Machel branch once again to withdraw my salary (which had been credited on time as usual). It was just after 6pm when l got there and l wanted to use the ATM. Guess what, the 2 ATMs available where not working. Maintenance work was in progress and one could hear the employees servicing the ATMs chatting and laughing as they went about their pace. I enquired with the security guard how long it was going to take and why where the ATMs not working. He told me that they were feeding the machines with cash as they had run out. I asked the employees in the ATMs (who by the way could not see me) how long it was going to take them and they replied, “about 10 minutes.”

So l joined the short queue of 5 people which was slowly building up at the bank. The 10 minutes became 20 and then 30 minutes. Frustrated l went back to the ATM area and asked the employees who l could still hear chatting and laughing, how long it was going to take for them to have the machines ready. One of them responded that “in about 10 minutes.” Oh my goodness! The only time interval these employees know is 10 minutes. At this point there where over 20 people queuing to withdraw money at the ATM.

I got annoyed by this and left the ATM only to come back after 2 hours to get my money. Imagine the inconvenience this caused me. I had to look for something to do in town to while up time to avoid getting frustrated by BancABC’s stale thinking and dull banking. I wandered why the powers be at BancABC decided to allow the ATM to be serviced at 6pm on a day such as 25th of the month. The banking hall is closed and the only way to withdraw money is through the ATM and it’s out of service due to some stale thinking of someone within the BancABC family.

As I was driving home l reflected on the many encounters that l had to put up with BancABC’s shoddy service. From being given excuses about how they could not send me a bank statement because of system challenges to not getting confirmation of how much is left on my personal loan repayments. I have been patient, but everything comes to an end. Patience does run out at times. I have had enough of this and l’m moving my account elsewhere.

The kind of service that l have been getting is bad to say the least but a time will come when customers will have the power to kill off brands that give shoddy service. I am glad to be a former customer of yours and I have decided to terminate the relationship. I have the power to walk away and there is nothing you can do to me. I am going away but it will not be fair on my part if l do not give you hints and tips of what you can do for the next customer so that you can keep them for good.
Faced with a situation like mine, Maureen should have referred me to her superior who should have verified my claims and checked my account and profile. The superior would have authorized that I get the money as l was going to be paid the next morning and probably the money was already sitting in their suspense account waiting to be credited. I would have become ecstatic and would have told the whole world about them going the extra mile for me. I would have become a loyal customer. Secondly the ATM should be fully functional each evening for the convenience of your customers. Such moments are not meant for engaging in maintenance work you know.

BancABC, l leave you with your stale thinking and dull banking. Goodbye it was such a challenge doing business with you.

We’ve forwarded this to BancABC management for a response.