By Jove there’s got to be something between banks and I, and all of the wrong kind! If I didn’t know better I’d say/think it was karma but it’s definitely not. Not with the slave hours I put in as a marketer for Intercontinental Bank (now merged and renamed Access Bank) back in 2006. That’s a story (or some stories) for another day.

Remember the GT Bank drama chronicles that I documented? Sigh… That was an ugly experience for all the parties concerned, my humble self included. Glad it was sorted, and I still feel sorry for the persons burned in the process of me getting sorted. Do you know I ended up looking like the mean person when I was the one who had been wronged? Sigh again.

Ok, let’s chronicle this episode, shall we? I had been told that Stanbic IBTC, being a ‘foreign bank’, would have less issues with caring for their customers. After this encounter with them though, only ‘same ten and ten pence’ comes to mind when I think of them.

So I was in Nigeria in August for my aunt’s funeral and decided to use the opportunity to sort out my accounts – shut down some, and start to use others a bit more.

Got into Stanbic IBTC on the 14th of August with my cousin who works in the Asset Management wing. We went to the counter, I said I needed to register for internet banking, and I was asked to fill out a form. I filled it out carefully and was told I would get a text in 24 hours. Did I get it? Of course not!

Went back on the 21st,and I was told that I didn’t get the text because…(wait for it)… the phone number on my account wasn’t a Nigerian number. What!!! Is there a reason why no one mentioned this when I filled out the form? When I opened the account in February? The lady said she noticed after I had left. No one could email to say this?

Breathe FGS, breathe. I was asked to fill out a ‘change of phone number’ form (or some other silly sounding document). I filled it, and again I was told I would get a message in 24 hours. Yeah right, of course I didn’t get it. Wouldn’t have needed to blog this if I’d gotten it.

Now, my flight back to the UK was slated for the night of the 26th of August and so that morning, in the course of my last-minute errands, I dropped by Stanbic IBTC to ask about this mysterious text that had probably sworn not to appear on my phone, and ask about their definition of ’24 hours’.

Got there, and brethren that was when someone pulled out the ‘change of phone number’ document to attend to and put through the system! Then they said to “go home and expect the text in 24 hours”.

That was when I ‘sparked’. How many times would I have to go and come for something as inconsequential as internet banking? How many times would I go and wait for a text that was clearly never going to come? I was miffed. Especially since, being the typical Nigerian lady, the ‘never-smiling’ urchin behind the counter decided to mask (or attempt to mask) her incompetence with bravado and sass.

Wasn’t having none of that so I asked to see the manager. And I asked for her name (Temi) because I didn’t really see what I would be describing to the manager. I went upstairs, met him, and complained, complete with dates and times. He apologised profusely, rang and had harsh words with the customer care team because apparently I wasn’t the only one who had complained of poor treatment from a customer care unit that’s supposed to ‘treat you right’.

Ladies and gentlemen, I got the so-called text within the hour! Why must issues degenerate to near fisticuffs before people do what they are supposed to? Why?

Not only did I get it, the manager told me I could have sorted out the online banking business online! Mind you, the customer care guys had said it could only be done in the bank.


P:S – I wasn’t told I needed a token for transactions, so chances that there will be a part 2 to this tale are very high!

UPDATE: a couple hours after this blogpost was published, I saw this message on Twitter from Stanbic IBTC.


Very nice of them… I will be getting in touch!

  1. Tayo says:

    Nigerian bank’s operations and professionalism- don’t depend on them when you need them the most, they will likely break your heart. They are like February 29 , they are there sometimes but not all the time.


    • Professionalism is a problem Tayo, especially staff treating you like they’d rather be somewhere in Maldives than in the branch attending to you. Customer service is horrible to be honest, but I have a story on brilliant customer service I recieved coming up soon!


  2. Jokotolu says:

    Hi. Thanks for letting me – even though you weren’t letting me know, if you know what I mean. Loads of ‘know’s in there – hope it made sense. Anyway, we do stuff for them so I will definitely flag this to them. Hope it has all now been sorted – since it happened in August and we are now in Nov, I am hoping that means it is all okay.

    Re the token, do you mean the GTB style token? If so, you don’t need one (don’t quote me – I may be wrong). What they do is allow you to set up anyone you want to transact with as a beneficiary so you don’t have to enter in all the details each time. To do that, they will send you a OTP (one time password) to your phone. It will be the number you have registered to the account so if you are doing it while in the UK, you will need to turn on/roam your Nigerian number. Sorry, yes someone should have told you that before you left but…
    Oh, before I forget, you don’t have to set everyone up as a beneficiary – you can do one-time payments as well. Just click on the ‘One-time payment’ option. But I think you will still need to be able to receive an OTP.

    If you can’t turn on your Nigerian number to get the OTP, let me know and I’ll ask them to see what the options are.

    If you have any further issues, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!!


    • Tolu!!!

      Thank you so much for this! I’ll have a go (because I just refrained from trying to do any transfers once I heard the token gist), and let you know if I have any trouble with the OTP…

      In other news I was in Nigeria recently, about 2 weeks ago, if you’d kept in touch (via the comments on your blog) I would have gotten in touch, shared a drink or something!!!

      Again, thanks for the comment, I’ll definitely be calling Ghostbusters, my cat is stuck in a tree!


  3. Francesca says:

    Gosh! This is too funny (and annoying sha).
    “Especially since, being the typical Nigerian lady, the ‘never-smiling’ urchin behind the counter decided to mask (or attempt to mask) her incompetence with bravado and sass.”

    These are the ones that slay me; those mumu air-heads who have NO clue what customer care is or should be. Glad you had it sorted out babes.


    • Babes you won’t believe how it grates. Customer care comes across like they’re doing us a favour, and that’s something I’ll never stand for.

      I think I even asked this particular lady if she was ok, and why she was frowning the first time I got there. Rubbish. If you don’t love the job leave and create room for people who are on their knees to God day and night for a job!


  4. […] albatross is banks. I have stories of terrible service from GTB (which they rectified), and from Stanbic IBTC (which they rectified […]


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