Picture: 123RF/SCAN RAIL
Picture: 123RF/SCAN RAIL

I have a small business in Rondebosch, Cape Town, and have become frustrated with the manner in which banks treat their customers. We have dealings with branches of two different banks, but the problems appear endemic to both.

I am aware that banks are having to change their business models as technology advances and competition increases, but they are placing their customers’ needs a distant second versus their drive to cut costs.

Both banks have recently ceased to provide a teller service. The problem of where a retail-type business is now supposed to obtain change for the tills appears not to have been addressed. This must have implications for thousands of small businesses throughout the country.

The banks have substituted ATMs for face-to-face contact, which is fine in theory but the ATMs are regularly out of order, so cash takings build up, resulting in an increased risk of theft.

One of the banks took it upon itself to change the internet banking log-in protocols, and one is now unable to access the service. The system was working perfectly the previous day. I went to the local branch only to find four other customers with the same problem.

The bank’s staff were unable to get through to their own “helpline”, presumably because thousands of others in SA are experiencing the same log-in problem. I left the bank after sitting around for 30 minutes as it appeared the problems were not going to be resolved any time soon.

The banks increase their fees annually like clockwork and spend thousands of rand in advertising, but are unable to provide a basic service. What a warped perception of the services required by their customers.

Derek Pryce
Via email

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