At a time of crippling recession some industries have proven to be fairly resilient. The banking sector despite the loud and undisguised anger of economic agents in other sectors of the economy has shown its ability to defy earnings gravity by pulling up corporate profits against the odds. Indeed despite the harsh financial times, quite a number of deposit money institutions such as First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN) have seen customers piling into their banker halls to turn around tidy transactions.
To get an insight into just how well banks such as FBN are doing we decided to visit some banks in Dopemu and Akowonjo axis of Lagos State to take a look at the volume of activities they post in respect of both retail and wholesale customers. Below are some of our findings about the banks within the axis:
Zenith Bank Dopemu Branch
Our first point of call was Zenith bank beside the Aluminum Village along Dopemu Road. This bank branch has a small parking lot that cannot take more than five cars at a time. Two security personnel were seen within the bank premises with one of them outside at the entrance door, while the other was inside the banking hall.
There were two ATMs within the bank and they were both dispensing cash. Just few customers used the ATMs during our visit last week. And in less than five minutes, they were able to make their withdrawals.
The banking hall of this branch of Zenith was very small with few customers transacting business across the counter. Only two tellers were on ground to attend to them. And in less than five minutes customers were able to make deposits and withdrawals.
There were two customer care staff sitting by the left hand side on entering the hall, one was attending to a customer with complaints. She was courteous and professional in her conduct. This reflected a corporate environment with well-coordinated activities with a water dispenser filled with water and stocked with disposable cups. The rest room was neat and comfortable.
First Bank Dopemu
This branch was one of the branches standing permanent sentry along Dopemu Road before the Akowonjo Bridge. The bank advertised a spacious parking lot, which could take more than 10 cars in carefully parked.
At the bank two mobile Police manned the security post supported by five private security guards.Two of them were in the parking lot helping customers with where to park their cars, while one officer was stationed at the entrance door. Two others were in the banking hall.
This branch of FBN has five ATMs but only two of them were dispensing cash at the time of our visit the other three machines were out of service and unavailable to dispense cash. Customers spoken to complained that this was a perennial problem at the branch.
The branch is a one storey building; the ground floor is designed as a banking hall while the upper floor and serves as the customer care centre and caters to other back office operational needs of the branch. The floor was tidy and well organized. At the time Business Hallmark (BH) visited last week, there were four Tellers on seat attending to customers on a queue of about 25 people. The tellers were fast and it took them about four minutes on average to attend to each customer. The customer care representatives were three attending to a queue of six customers taking an average of five minutes per customer attended to at a time.
Unfortunately and disappointingly the branch did not have a water dispenser for customers to quench their thirst while queuing and transacting business, instead the security officer told us the water dispenser was upstairs and on getting there, there was no water dispenser anywhere in the branch. It has one Convenience which was meant for both Male and Female, which was dirty and messy.
UBA Dopemu Branch
This bank is located immediately after Dopemu Bridge, along the Abeokuta Express way. The bank has a big parking lot. It has two private security officers, one outside in charge of the entrance door while the other one was positioned inside. The branch has three ATM machines and all three were dispensing cash when BH visited, with only three customers making withdrawals. The branch is a well-constructed single storey building. The ground floor is home to the banking hall and customer care service desks, while the upper floor has just the convenience and a couple of back office operations rooms.
The banking hall is of medium size and is very tidy, it has three Tellers at the counter attending to the 10 customers on the queue; it takes four minutes to attend to a customer. There are three customer care representatives by a corner attending to the seven customers on the queue and taking them ten minutes in attending to a customer.
The upper floor was big and empty, as there were just a few operation rooms sprawled across the floor space with a small Toilet which was clean.