FRANQUE’S SHAFT: B-r-e-a-t-h-e

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It was with a little apprehension that I left home that afternoon. Wish that I did not have to go, wish that there was a way to be done without even going, wish that my reason for going had not arisen in the first place… For all the wishes in the world, I still had to go and be brave too.

Going to any branch of Guaranty Trust Bank, I have heard, can be testing. Going to the branch in my hood, I know, is nothing short of war; an all out battle between man and the elements.

I got off the okada, squared my shoulders and strode purposefully towards the door. It crossed my mind, even as I walked, that something was different, but it was not until I got to the entrance that it occurred to me what it was: No queue.

The banking hall was not much different and within minutes of walking in the door I had cashed some over-the-counter money, and was standing in front of a customer service agent. “Good afternoon ma’am, may I please get an ATM card requisition form?” I asked as pleasantly as I was beginning to feel. Without a word she riffles through a file on her table and pulled out a form which she handed to me. “Thank you,” I said.

“That’ll cost you a thousand naira,” she tossed after me as I walked to a desk to complete the form. “I know!” I threw over my shoulder.

Form completed, I returned to her desk and waited my turn – again. After about a minute or a shade over a minute there was a break in her ‘busyness’ so I asked her who I should drop the form off with.

“I can’t collect the form from you o,” she said.

“That’s why I asked for who I should drop it off with,” enunciating every word.

“Ehn, nobody here will take the form from you.” She made a sweeping motion with her right hand to encompass the other two ladies at the table with her.

“And why is that so?”

“The systems are down and there is no way of verifying if your signature is irregular or not.” She offered by way of explanation. “Even if you leave the form, nobody will attend to it.”

Breathe Franque, breathe. I told myself. “So why did you give me a form then?” I wanted to know.

“You see, some people even after all the explanations still insist on collecting the form, so in order to avoid all that, I just gave you the form.”

I snorted. “So you have avoided all that, but now you have to deal with this: why did you give me a form?”

“Am sorry,” she said grudgingly, and from the missing ‘I’, it was clear her apology was given by rote.

“The form is no good to me really,” I told her. “I will leave it with you and come in another day to have you verify the signature,” and handing her the form, I bade her a lovely day and left the banking hall.

From the GT bank I went to a UBA branch, I had a payment to make into a friend’s account. I was already expecting drama from the bank’s security men. It always amuses me how much grief security men will put you through on your way into a bank, and how very deferential they are to you on your way out.

“Off ya phone.” “Hold ya phone up, hol’ am flat.” “Come out fest.” “Oya gimme the phone. Anyting dey ya pocket?” “Oya enter. Wait fest. Oya take.” Honestly, no surprises there.

Upstairs at the desk, I picked up a deposit slip and filled out the blank spaces. Halfway through, I realised I had written name where it said amount in words. I walked back to the counter to pick up another slip. As I reached into the holder, the teller pointing to the table I had just come from asks me “What’s wrong with that form?”

“I started filling it and decided I didn’t like the form anymore,” I wanted to say, but instead I smiled and explained about my mistake.

I was heading home when I remembered a mail I got from Access Bank, and since I had just walked past one, I retraced my steps and went in.

“Good afternoon ma’am,” I greeted the girls behind the customer service desk. Girls, because that was what they were, young. One, more so than the other. “I will need you to do me a big favour,” I said flashing her my most winning smile. “I can’t seem to remember my account details, so if I give you my name and signature, will you be able to help me pull it up?”

“What’s your account number?” She asked. I felt my smile start to wane.

“I don’t know it, that’s why I said ‘account details’,” I said looking her square in the face.

“Ah, which branch did you open the account at?” She asked me.

“I think it’s the Adeniyi Jones branch. You do have a branch on Adeniyi Jones, right? I am not familiar with names of some areas, but it’s around there somewhere just off Oba Akran.” I told her, hoping she would just check and knowing she didn’t exactly need the branch to check – in my experience, a branch code is usually incorporated into the account number.

“In that case there’s nothing we can do for you.” She said the words I loathe to hear, and I was about to tell her how silly that statement was when another older lady asked her to go and do something else before sliding in behind the computer and punching a few keys. She wrote something down on paper which she handed to me; my account number. I smiled and thanked her.

PS: This is a week later and I have been to that same GT bank branch a total of four times, and each time I have met the same lady, Moyosore is her name. Each time she has turned me down with an excuse that doesn’t make any sense to me: My signature is irregular.  What I find amusing is that each time I have gone to her, I have had to do an over the counter transaction, and each time the tellers have paid me without a murmur. I even had to go dig up documents from six years ago – and I see that the signature has evolved in that time – but still Moyo won’t process my ATM card application because there is a swirl, or a whorl, or a loop, or a dot out of place.

Franque

Franque

"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.

25 comments

  1. Moyosore wnt answer U cos she likes seeing Ur face in her branch. She probably thinks it awesome dat U’v not lost ur cool yet. As for d older lady, d charm meant d young girl juz simply worked on her, aint U something?!

  2. LMAO! That gal must like you. She’s just waiting for you to talk to her.

    Let me not even talk about the “customer service” in banks. One word: USELESS!

  3. hahahaha!simple bank transactions can wilt a full grown man.my xp wt gt has always been pleasant…bt uba,mba,story 4 another day.

  4. As someone who had, once upon a time, a customer service role in a bank, I find it particularly irritating when things like you just said happen. There are procedures which make it easy for a customer with some banking challenges or the other to get help. A bad attitude by a customer service rep is a personal thing.
    Really, she might just like you, who knows?

  5. This is one of the reasons am going ancient=burying my money in the earth so I don’t have to deal with the bad attitudes of “customer care” workers…..As for Moyo crushing on you hmmmm,check her ring finger next time,maybe u look like her annoying hubby at home,so she’s decided to give u grief or she probably knows one of your EXs…….*drops mic n runs off*

  6. I concur, Moyo likes you. Either that or you remind her of a hated ex and she’s taking things out on you. Not defending them, because I have this hypothesis that they secretly enjoy making people a tad miserable (oppodite what their job is supposed to be), but it isn’t easy dealing with a whole bunch of angry people day in and day out. But since u said you started things with a smile, then these guys are another story. Report her to a supervisor. You’d be surprised how quickly that would get ur request admitted!

  7. Good mornin family, hope y’all enjoyed the rains last night (if it rained in ur hood). iGuess happy tyms r here again – if u lyk rain.
    @ Mateelly: *hummin a classic* “Wash me gently, wash me slowly, take it easy don’tcha kno dat iHave never been washed lyk this before..”
    @ Chychy: we kno if that’s the case, all she has to do is get my number n call me! iAm easier than Sunday mornin…
    @ qhaycee: my experiences r exactly the same o. GT rocks, UBA sucks. End of story;
    @ Sara_Taffy: iCome and wonder o;
    @ Olaedo: who would have guessed it?! As for personal ish, iAgree. That’s how she will go about sayin boys r bad, that they keep leavin her because she works at a bank, blissfully ignorin the real issue #NotMoyosore
    @ Everyone_else: My guest writer for the month of March is the youngest writer iAm yet to meet. iWill present said writer on the last Friday of this month. See y’all next week. Cheers!

  8. Welcome to the world of Nigerian banks… Its so much easier dealing with guys… Change Branches, n meet the guys. They are much more accomodating…

  9. Lol at El going ancient. Dont even get me started on banks. Intercontinental now access,uba.as for d girl its amazing you av not lost your cool yet.

  10. customer service isn’t adhered to in naija…try that this way and see what will become of your business…lol. By the way, why do Nigerians have multiple accounts with multiple banks? Never made sense to me when i lived in naija, still doesn’t…even my folks too have God knows how many accounts with God knows how many banks…i still don’t get it!

  11. Customer care in our banks give fright not care. Ithink they go for special on the job training for that skill. Smh

  12. @ eL: There’s no ring on it. This her crush is doin exactly that: crushin my bank dealings. How am iSupposed to go cashless with the rest of Lagos?
    @ BlackPearl: iDidn’t come into her bank actin angry! As for reportin her to her superiors, iAm savin that for the next time we have a run-in;
    @ Efeya Goodness: U and me both;
    @ MaBijo: Shebi u will tell her for me that iWanna take her out to lunch? Jooo o!
    @ nengie: iCan understand why u will think guys are cooler, shebi u r female?
    @ Uk: iHav contemplated losin my cool, but the truth is, it’ll only bring me down to her level where she will beat me with experience;
    @ Kay: U actually have banks at Apapa? Me sef go turn aggressive if na Apapa iDey work nau. That ur traffic alone…
    @ AliBaba: it’s for the same reasons we have 3 NEPA phases, 4 GSM lines, 3 cabbies or 4 Okada guys… It’s a Naija thing;
    @ Phransea: iAm tempted to agree with u…

  13. I really don’t envy you and I understand how much you had to force and maintain calm in all these scenarios- considering your occupation.lol. If there is one thing that I am grateful for since I left Naija, it is experiencing real customer service here….where people understand that no matter how small your money in your account is,you make up the people who ensure that they get paid.
    That said, you sef….6 times? Na only Moyo dey bank?!?

  14. btw,

    @ AliBaba: it’s for the same reasons we have 3 NEPA phases, 4 GSM lines, 3 cabbies or 4 Okada guys… It’s a Naija thing;

    YOU ARE SMART FRANQUE!

  15. @ t: iCompletely get u on gettin proper customer service. As for Moyo, sadly she’s the 1st person iHavta talk to at that branch, na to go another branch be dat;
    @ Mystique: Hian! Abeg o!

  16. @Franque..lol, pele, i hate banks too. UBA is lyk d worst bank eva, scarp dat, UBA is d worst bank. Am surprisd u ad problems in ACCESS, for me along wit GTB has d best customer services. As for Moyosore, she probably lyks you or not, or both.. I advice u waste no tym finding out which, make a report nd get her to do her job… And i av missed reading ur postings, but moi is back now.
    @Mystique…lmao… Ure stalking me here too?…lol, see u in camera.

  17. Customer Service is totally non-existent in Nigeria especially with the banks. They think they are doing you a favour when u come to the banking hall but sorry , i can always dig a small hole in the middle of my room to lodge my salary. Talking of the worst banks, try BankPHB/Keystone. Worst ever

  18. GTB didn’t prepare for the deluge of customers they actively worked to attract…that’s what pisses me off. They’ve got 2 branches for metropolitan Ibadan. Where they do that at?! Queues wrap around the building and damn near into the street. And what provider are they using that messes up internet service so routinely? Aaarggh.
    By the way, the worst bank is Mainstreet…aint no changing my mind. That bank is a fallen institution…Sanusi should just let it go and let them be turned into cinemas..they would make more money that way.

  19. @ MTN: iCompletely agree with u on UBA. Just the thought of visitin a branch and iBreak out!
    @ Bennie: pls when u do dig n burry, draw a map and send to me for safe keepin, k?
    @ Ready: even if u had just typed ur name, it woulda been enough. iMissed u! U badger me into stayin consistent then u go AWOL on me, is dat lyk? *hug* As for GT, so correct. And pray tell, what bank is Mainstreet? Sounds lyk Broadway, so cinemas should work.

  20. Franque!!! I don’t mean to be as MIA on you as I am, I just have responsibilities and more life duties now. I do read quite often…I just can’t comment as much as before. I’m glad my pestering worked though.
    Ohh…Afribank was renamed Mainstreet; can’t believe you don’t know that..Aunty Dora would be so mad at you. I’ll comment more, I promise. Loved this post…looking forward to Fatherwood…and more sympathy pregnancy tales.

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