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Opinions Tue, 28 Feb 2012

Ecobank’s Sinking Image

By Margaret Jackson

It has become a common norm for many businesses to take Ghanaians for granted once they get their foothold in the country and start making huge profits at the backs of their customers. As a result, many of these businesses who roll out excellent services at the beginning of their operations, over time, resort to stinking services much to the disadvantage of Ghanaians. And the most worrying aspect of it all is that, these companies do little or nothing when customers begin to raise concerns about the kind of services they receive.

Ecobank, is one of the leading banks in the country today with many branches. The company which has grown from leaps to bounds has even merged with The Trust Bank, but I am saying it on authority that Ecobank, offers the worst Automated Teller Machine (ATM) services in the country today. Ecobank’s ATM services simply stinks and most of their customers and staff members can confirm what I am saying. The bank offers the worst form of ATM services when compared to other banks operating in the country.

It all started way back in September 2010, when Ecobank’s ATM services started to develop severe problems. On any given day a customer can drive from Ecobank’s branch at Weija through Mallam, Dansoman, Odorkor, Agblobloshie Market, Ecobank’s Head Office, Osu and through to Labone and realize that all their ATMs are down. And it is very disheartening that the only lame excuses given to customers are that “We are aware about the problem and are working on it.” So for almost 17 months customers of Ecobank have been suffering softly from this intermittent malfunctioning of Ecobank’s ATMs without any comprehensive action by the bank to address the problem.

It may interest readers to know that customers are normally put at this disadvantage situations by the malfunctioning ATMs on Fridays through Sundays. And the situation is even worse at the end of the month. Therefore, Ecobank customers have to swallow their pains and frustrations by running from one branch to another with the hope of getting a functioning ATM which normally does not happen.

The most strangest thing happens when you even go to the very Head Office of Ecobank at Ridge and realize that all the three ATMs there are also down. The lady who is in charge of the bank’s ATM services in the country or Accra has simply lost it, because she does not provide any encouraging information as to when the bank will fix this terrible problem once and for all. She is normally found throwing her hands up in the air to signify her own frustrations with the bank’s management’s inability to help in putting this blight to bed.

Many Ecobank customers are very angry because when they go to other banks to use their ATMs they are charged a fee which Ecobank will not refund as a courtesy for their malfunctioning ATMs. Indeed many customers are grumbling that Ecobank is taking them for a ride whilst others have threatened to close their accounts and do business with other banks if this problem is not fixed immediately.

I am told some customers have even sent emails to the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Mr. Samuel Ashittey Adjei, but they have not yet received any responses from him. And I bet you if this article is published you will see Ecobank scrambling all over the place trying to do damage control by way of either giving lame excuses or try to fix the problems with the ATMs.

There is another problem with Ecobank that I want to bring to the notice of the public. Due to fraud, many customers are afraid to give their documents or ask basic questions from non-bank officials whenever they go to banks to do business. It is therefore good that when you enter many Ecobank branches you will see the following statement boldly displayed at their counters;

Caution: Dear customer. Do not accept any assistance when withdrawing or depositing cash/cheques from non-staff. Please identify staff members with their name tags.

Very well said! But I am afraid to inform readers that this bold display by Ecobank warning customers against fraudsters is simply cosmetic. Reason being that on any given day you can go to several Ecobank branches and see tellers of the bank giving customer documents like passports/drivers licenses/voters identification cards to the security men/women on duty to make photo copies for them. I am not lying because I took it upon myself and visited several Ecobank branches to ascertain the truth about this allegation and it proved to be true.

Why would tellers of Ecobank feel too big to stand up to go and make photo copies? The reason is obvious. These tellers who were like angels when they were looking for jobs seem to have grown wings and feel too big to stand up from their cubicles to go and make photo copies, hence their penchant to ‘use’ the security men/women on duty. Do the tellers not know that a crook security man/woman can go and make two photo copies of a customers’ identity card and keep one for something creepy? Don’t they know that a criminal security man/woman can sell information about customers to fraudsters if they get hold of their documents?

I am tempted to say that Ecobank has a long way to go. It is not good or funny if for 17 good months Ecobank with all its bragging and pomposity has not been able to fix its malfunctioning ATMs. Truly somebody must be sleeping at his/her job otherwise this should not take the bank more than a week to fix. Is Mr. Adjei saying that he is not aware about this terrible unpardonable problem? And is he happy to be in his suit and sit at his comfortable office every week whilst customers upon whose back he enjoys all those comforts troop from one branch to another looking for a functioning ATM just to withdraw their own God given monies?

Ecobank’s image if they still have any is indeed sinking. And if the bank is unable to resolve these problems that I have raised, I would be forced to come out with more. Stay tuned!

http://majjacks80.blogspot.com magjackson80@yahoo.com

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret