BANKING With Tears At First Bank, Aguda
The views of the writer are entirely his and do not represent that on ONNLive.
By Justin Akpovi-Esade
WHEN next you are visiting First Bank Nigeria, Aguda, Surulere branch, kindly take a torch light or a mobile phone that has a torchlight feature. You will thank me later for this great piece of advice.
Customers were made to go through hell on Monday, April 30, 2018 at about 8.30am when power supply to the bank was interrupted. It was unfortunately a day before the May 1 Workers Day public holiday and expectedly, the banking hall was filled to the hilt as there was a mad rush to close so many transactions before the one day break.
One thought the bank would switch over to an alternative power source but alas, that was how customers waited for over 45 minutes, breathing in each other’s hot breath. The management of the branch was so nice that no one of them came out to apologize to the now on edge customers that have decided to switch on the torch lights of their mobile phones as the banking hall was dark.
The wait lasted about an hour and many others had to leave in frustration. This is a bank that prides itself as ‘Truly the First’ in Nigeria!
First Bank branch Aguda has a reputation for inflicting pain and anguish on customers. One would think the manager of the branch derives some form of perverted sadistic pleasure from seeing customers in pain. He/she no doubt gets some kicks when he/she sees customers in a long queue at the ATM gallery with five machines but only one or two would always work anytime, any day you visit that branch. Most times, the queue will spill over to the main Enitan Road, Aguda. I have a feeling that the manager sits in his AC office and watch the sweaty crowd outside via a CCTV and grin with deep, sadistic satisfaction, if not why he or she has not removed the dormant ATM or made them work, beats me.
If you are in need of urgent cash on a Friday evening, please look for another bank ATM because First Bank, Aguda ATM will NEVER be operational. The guards are always too glad to announce to you before you even take more than two steps into the bank premises: “Oga, it is not paying o”. That familiar statement seals your fate.
Then if you decide to be patient till Saturday morning and just because you do not want to lose the N65 naira if you make more than three withdrawals at another bank’s ATM, you will get a rude shock because no matter how early you get to First Bank, Aguda, you will meet over 200 people lined up for one machine. So, you may end up spending over an hour just to make a withdrawal with people cursing and pushing out of frustration. It is crazier when there is an oncoming holiday. Last Christmas was the most grueling for all First Bank customers in Aguda.
Again, I have this feeling that the manager comes to work on Monday and goes through the CCTV recording, sees how people suffered and gets his/her tonic to go through Monday work pressure.
I wanted to make a withdrawal that is above the ATM daily limit and usually, I do that inside the banking hall using the ‘Fast Track’ feature, that little ATM-like machine. I discovered that feature has been removed from First Bank, Aguda, and I did not arrive with a withdrawal booklet, so I was made to go through a very rigorous and energy sapping process of writing a long letter to the manager, practically appealing to her/him to let me get my money; waited for an approval before I could get the cash. I found it amusing that in 2018, one is still writing a letter to the manager to get cash from a bank that claims to be ‘Truly The First’. This ordinarily never took me more than FOUR minutes before the removal of the ‘Fast Track’ option, that is why I have come to the conclusion that the manager at that branch derives JOY from inflicting avoidable pains on customers.
The saddest part of the whole thing is that the closest First Bank branch from Aguda is Kilo or you have to go further down to the end of Adeniran Ogunsanya or perhaps make a wide detour back to the branch on Itire Road close to Ojuelegba, so it is a sacrifice any First Bank customer living in Aguda will have to make to avoid some torture from the Aguda branch or better still quit being a first bank customer.
Akpovi-Esade is a customer of First Bank in Lagos