Monday, October 1, 2012

First National, the don't care bank

Dear Michael Jordaan Chief Executive of First National Bank,
         It’s me again. Sorry to harp on about it, but the undertaking given by your bank to put more staff into one of your ailing branches hasn’t materialised.
It was nearly six months ago that Barry de Witt, your CEO of Branch Banking told me, We have arranged to increase staff numbers (see Big, Bad, Bad First National Bank).
This was at the Long Beach Mall branch in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs.
         Surely if this had been done your clients wouldn’t still be putting nasty messages in that Give us your thoughts book that you have at the branch.
         Here are some of the latest ones and I’ll include some of the ones I mentioned before just to refresh you memory.
         11/9/2012 - Liz Goate` wrote 'You have no staff available. You might as well close the branch down.'
         Liz owns the Lighthouse property management business, which involves having separate bank accounts for the properties on her books. And she told me this incredible story of what happened on this occasion when she went in to open another account.
         The man at inquiries was jumping around having apparently bumped the funny bone in his elbow and he claimed he couldn’t write. There was nobody else to help her so she told him she would wait, assuming that the pain would soon wear off.
         But the not so funny experience for her was that our manly FNB staffer still couldn’t write half and hour later. He must have been a soccer player.
        'I was surprised you could read my writing because I was so furious,' she told me. 'I have a huge number of accounts at that branch.'
         22/8/2012 - Veronique said of the service 'It’s up to SHIT!!! I pay a lot of money for your services. There are 2 people in your bank.'
         She is I assume a well healed client who expects the best service because she was previously with RMB Private Bank. As you  know this is the part of the FNB group that deals with wealth management and that kind of thing.
         She described the change as being 'disappointing.'
         9/7/2012 - K.Govender commented 'More tellers are needed. We are always waiting up to 30 min in the queue. The manager is of no help and is rude.'
         3/7/2012 - Rob Holding’s indictment was 'Always waiting at the tellers. Worst service of any FNB I’ve been to.'
         Wendy Fortune, who does the banking for the Photo First shop in the Mall, wrote, 'Most times when I come for change you don’t have any. Unacceptable for a bank not to have change. I had to go the Standard bank who could help.'
         She told me that FNB had now sorted out this problem for her.

         Tom Cooper’s complaint was, 'Find more competent technicians to service the ATMs. All three have similar defects on the screen.' And on the other side of the page there was this entry, 'Branch response. Technicians do not inspect ATMs once they have repaired them.'
         While I was looking through this classic book of how not to run a business the manager came up to me and assured me that all these comments no longer applied as they would shortly be getting more staff.
         Haven’t I heard that somewhere before? Last time when Barry said much the same thing I wrote that only time will tell whether things will improve or if the branch will remain a monument to BAD, BAD Service.
        Well this monument can’t be changed, it seems. It’s cast in stone.
         Your distressed Consumer Watchdog,
P.S. Barry told me the staff compliment was increased by three, but then there were two resignations and they are in the process of replacing them. 'The rest of your comments are noted and we will address them,' he added.

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