Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Dania Bogle | A tale of three banks

Published:Friday | August 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM

I wish to share a story of my visit to three separate banks on Wednesday, August 16. My mother and I wanted to put each other's names on our respective bank accounts.

Our first stop was at Sagicor Bank's Hope Road office. When we went to Customer Service, we were ushered to a rep within five minutes. When I informed her of our business, she found my information on a computer, noted that my mother's name was already on another account, verified the data, and printed the relevant forms which we signed. The whole process from entrance to exit took no longer than 15 minutes.

We then went to NCB Cross Roads. The information attendant sent us to a customer service rep who took our ID cards, as she said she needed them to retrieve our information. We were told to take a number so we could be seen in order of arrival after that info was verified.

 

Cross Roads 'runaround'

 

The rep then proceeded to tell us that while my mother's info was visible in the bank's system, as Cross Roads was her home branch, mine was not; since my account was at Half-Way Tree, an email to NCB Half-Way Tree would be sent to ask for this info. She said given the length of time it could take to get a response, it was best to go to there, where my information could be easily searched for and found.

When we arrived at NCB Half-Way-Tree, the information assistant was shocked and apologised for the "runaround", as she informed us that the service should really be done at Cross Roads since that was my mother's branch and it was to her account that my name was to be added. However, she said, they would accommodate us.

In addition, she said to see a customer service rep would be a two-hour minimum wait, because there were three persons ahead of us, and it could take 45 minutes per person to add a name to an account. There were 12 cubicles, but only two agents working. We arrived at about 11:45 a.m. and left there at 1:45 p.m.

We got to the third bank, CIBC FCIB New Kingston, at 1:55 p.m. We told Information our business and were told to take a number. Again, only two customer service reps were working. There were two persons being served, and I got number 39, with 33 being the person being attended to. The bank closed at 2:30 and we were still inside. In that time, only one person was seen. After almost an hour during which the same person was being attended to, I started to grumble. One man next to me said he had called in his request.

One agent finished with the person she was serving and then proceeded to go on a 30-minute phone call. It turns out it was the man who had called in his request, who came into the bank after I had arrived, who was served and then left us there, still waiting.

I asked for a manager. The manager came and told us there was no one but the two agents whom we saw who could fill our request, but she would try her best to assist us. She then went around the "back", and after 10 minutes, came back with a mile-high file of papers and another bunch for us to fill in and sign. We finally left at around 3:30 p.m.

I am really shocked that in 2017 and decades into the computer age, Jamaican banks are still sending customers here, there and everywhere to find information that can be stored on computers and retrieved at the drop of a hat. Not only that, but 45 minutes for one service is not acceptable. Out of sheer frustration, several persons left without being seen.

This backward approach in the modern era is appalling.

- Dania Bogle is a journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com or dmbogle@yahoo.com.