Customers raise alarm about arbitrary, foolish banking practices

SOME bank customers in the Lagos metropolis are not happy with what they described as arbitrary and foolish banking habits that most Deposit Money Banks refused to do away with and still claim to be new generation financial institutions.

Nigerian Tribune felt the pulse of some bank customers last week at Ejigbo, Yaba, Ikeja, Victoria Island and Oshodi all in Lagos.

A customer at Ikeja who did not want his name in print complained about the practice of insisting on regulatory ID card when all forms of identification is already with the banker.

According to him, he went to a new generation bank at Murtala Muhammed Airport Road in April to change a digit mistake in his telephone number. He was told to use edit facility on the Automated Teller Machine which he tried using but could not complete the transaction. Two months after he went back into the banking hall to sort this out once and for all, but was told to go to his other bank and apply for a change of date of birth because the age in his international passport differ from the one submitted for  Bank Verification Number (BVN).

According to him, this was done and last week, he went to the bank for a different transaction and saw that the banking hall was empty. He decided to edit the telephone number so that he could be receiving alert on the account opened since 2008. On filling every form required, he presented his company’s Identity Card, having left home without International passport.

“But to my greatest amazement, I was turned away again by the customer care because I did not come with a regulatory ID Card. My surprise is that in this technology driven era when the Central Bank of Nigeria has reformed  the banking space, means of identification still revolve around old practice of bring birth certificate, bring national ID Card, International passport among other physical requirement for such a simple transaction as correcting a digit mistake in my phone number,” the embittered customer lamented.

In his explanation, this should not happen because at the introduction of three-tiered Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements when customers were required to update their accounts in 2009, he filled the correct telephone number but the bank did not make the correction. During the nationwide Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) update of 2011, he filled the correct phone number and the bank did not correct the mistake. During the banking industry Bank Verification Number (BVN) biometric registration of 2014 and ongoing, the correct phone number was given, yet the mistake was not corrected.

“The most ridiculous aspect is that through my BVN, all information about me was staring the customer care excutive of the bank in the face, yet she insisted on seeing my national ID Card, International Passport, Drivers’ license or Voter’s registration card,” he fumed.

It should be remembered that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) set June 2011 as deadline for banks to fully comply with the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) scheme. It said at that time that NUBAN has great potentials to resolve the observed problems with electronic payments in Nigeria, as many of them are related to specification of wrong beneficiary account numbers. The memo partly stated, “The CBN has taken steps to ensure that socially and financially disadvantaged persons should not be precluded from opening accounts or obtaining other financial services for lack of acceptable means of identification. Customers were required to update their bank accounts information with such evidence on or before 30th April, 2013, failing which they would not be allowed to operate such accounts until they comply.

Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Banker’ Committee and in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria on February 14, 2014 launched a centralized biometric identification system for the banking industry tagged Bank Verification Number (BVN). It was aimed at using biometric information as a means of first identifying and verifying all individuals that have account(s) in any Nigerian bank and consequently, as a means of authenticating customer’s identity at point of transactions.

BVN captured all ten (10) fingers and facial image of registered customers.

Another customer Nnanyerugu Damian complained that N1, 000 balance abandoned in his bank account was fully deducted, yet the bank continued to deduct from the negative account expecting that when he pays in money, they will take it . Interestingly, he said “the account has been dormant for 5 years yet the bank continued to debit the account that has no money and continued to send monthly statement of account to me. This is nonsense, Damian who has vowed not to operate that account anymore told Nigerian Tribune.