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Published On: Tue, Jul 25th, 2017

No forex at Ojodu-Berger banks’ branches

 ENIOLA ILORI

It was few minutes past 10 am last week Monday, and the popular Ojodu/Berger, Lagos State had burst into live. The ever busy Oba Ogunusi Road was seething with vehicular and human traffic, and so were the banks. Here Diamond, First, Guaranty Trust and Zenith banks call the shots, and they are quite unmistakable.

There had been complains about banks selling foreign exchange at rates higher than what they usually display on the electronic notice board – perhaps to hoodwink regulators or customers – and we opted to find out. At the end of the day, one thing became certain: most banks had given up forex trading and would simply save you the stress by referring you to Bureau De Change. But other than forex, there were a few other things we did notice at the banks.

Diamond Bank Berger Branch

The bank is located along Ogunnusi Road, Ojodu-Berger. There are three ATMs in the bank premises, taking customers up to five minutes to make their withdrawal.

The parking space outside the iron bar gate takes ten cars on the average and the security personnel outside were ready to assist anyone who needed assistance with parking of their cars. But they were not as friendly as those in other branches of Diamond Bank.

At 10:20am this bank was already a full house, and it was obvious that the bank had not properly anticipated the number of customers it could have and therefore did not bother with spacious banking hall. With well over 40 people in the banking hall, it was not only obvious that the hall could hardly take more, but also that the staff were not so properly schooled on crowd management.

There were four tellers on the counter attending to the customers on the long queue, taking them about 15 minutes to complete transaction with a customer, which makes the transactions very slow. Some of the customers on the long queue were complaining and shouting that there should be more than four Tellers on seat and that the transactions were very slow.

There were two customer service desks left of the banking hall. Each had about five customers waiting and they were all standing up because no chairs were provided. To be fair, there was indeed a set of chairs, about two, at the right side. But that’s probably for cash transactions and that’s hardly adequate for the tens of people waiting or standing on the queue. To their credit, however, the hall is well air-conditioned. It took the customer care about four minutes to attend to a customer.

We proceeded to ask one of the customer service personnel how much they sell or buy USD. Probably too busy to pay much attention, she referred us to the electric notice board. “Check that board, the rate is displayed,” she said.

The constantly blinking notice board reads: Sell N360, Buy N357 under USD sign.

Zenith Bank Berger Branch:

The bank is a well-constructed building along Berger road. It has four security men and one mobile police. It has seven ATM machines, with four dispensing cash. There was a queue formed in the ATM gallery and customers waiting for any of the available one

Like the Diamond Bank adjacent, this branch has a medium size parking lot that can take only a few cars.

In this bank it is perhaps a case of fewer crowds, less stress. The banking hall looked orderly and better organized with about 10 people standing in the queue. There were four Tellers at the counter attending to the few customers on the queue while it took a Teller less than five minutes to attend to a customer.

There was no electronic board displaying exchange rate here, so we proceeded to inquire from one of the ladies at the customer service desk. She said the branch didn’t have dollars to sell but she offered to check the rate for us. She checked the internet briefly and said “We buy at N315, but sell at N315.3.

Meanwhile, customers waiting at the two customer service desks were comfortably seated, four of them, the bank has a water dispenser filled and stocked with water and disposable cups. It has a clean toilet stocked with toiletries

First Bank Berger Branch:

If parking space is a reason to choose a bank or a branch of a bank over another, the First Bank branch at Berger is obviously an easy choice. It has spacious parking space with security personnel handy to assist motorists.

The branch has six ATM machines, two outside at the car park and three in the bank compound in which four of the ATMs were dispensing cash, including the one inside and had average of seven people in the queue.

As was the case with Zenith, there were no board displaying exchange rate, and the reason is simple. A receptionist who looked more like a lab scientist said promptly that the bank doesn’t sell forex.

The branch operates two banking halls, typical of First Bank. But here, the ground floor hall had mainly desks and chairs with few customers seated while being attended to. While the second hall upstairs had about 17 people on the queue. Both halls looked neat and organized.

Guaranty Trust Bank Berger Branch:

The bank is along the road, it’s a few walk away from the Zenith bank, but Between First Bank and the GTB here it is hard to tell which one has a larger parking space. Indeed, the parking space here is spacious and customers driving into this bank won’t have any issue with where or how to park their cars.

There were four securities in this bank, two of them were helping with the parking lot while one of them was in charge of the security entrance door and the other one was inside the banking hall. There were six ATMs in this bank, three on both sides, in which they were all dispensing cash and was taking the customers not less than five minutes to make their withdrawal

And so is the banking hall that looked sizably large with 10 customers on the average on the queue. There were four Tellers at the counter while it took about four minutes to attend to each customer , The customer care service were on sit attending to the customers with their complains. The bank has a water dispenser stocked with water and the Toilet is well cleaned and neat

Like the others, there was nothing displaying exchange rate, and the customer service lady we approached said emphatically that GTB doesn’t sell dollars. She however offered to refer us to a bureau De Change person if we wanted.

 

 

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