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Customer Service: Best and Worst Bank Branches on Lagos Island



Customer Service: Best and Worst Bank Branches on Lagos Island

Customer Service: Best and Worst Bank Branches on Lagos Island

By Akande Segun

Okay, I hold up my hands and openly confess – I’ve tried and tried so very hard to understand why Nigerian customer service personnel are so incapable of smiling when customers approach them.

Is it something to do with our genes /DNA? Or did God forget to give us that extra ‘smile’ muscle which empowers us to not only smile when with friends and loved ones or whilst watching something funny on TV but also whilst serving Nigerian customers (I say Nigerian because I’ve noticed they somehow always remember to smile when serving Caucasians). For that is after-all what customer service is all about is it not? SERVICE – from the word SERVE. Permit me to repeat that word one more time – SERVE!!!

God must have forgotten to give Nigerians that extra smile muscle. In the first quarter of 2016 I visited over forty bank branches – Skye Bank, UBA, First Bank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank, Ecobank, Heritage Bank, Zenith Bank, FCMB, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, GT Bank, Stanbic, Wema, and Diamond Bank; and I was greeted with a smile by a teller / customer service person only once. In-fact so shocked was I by that unexpected warm smile that I almost ran away in fear I may have done something wrong. To say I was overjoyed is a major understatement. And which bank did this hallowed lady with the unexpected smiled work for? Heritage Bank! So big congrats to Heritage bank for possessing a customer facing personnel that smiles.

Not only did she smile but she very kindly took me to the person that could attend to my inquiry. Unfortunately no sooner had I been introduced to this person – the customer service assistant none the less, and normal service was resumed. The customer service assistant didn’t so much as glance in my general direction. Rather, she fired some words resembling ‘fill this form’ at me with such disdain that the joy I had felt a few moments earlier dissipated without trace. I tried so hard to ignore her poor behaviour but alas, I just couldn’t. After-all to say nothing wouldn’t be helping her in anyway. So I told her off – telling her she should always look at customers when speaking with them or answering their questions; and that she should properly explain things with a genuine care and concern for the customer’s welfare.

The one thing we customers need to start recognising is that contrary to the manner in which many customer service personnel and tellers of various banks behave, they are NOT doing us a favour. We the customers are the ones doing them a favour – by banking with them. We are the ones paying their salaries. Without customers a bank is nothing.

I shall be visiting (often incognito) bank branches across Lagos throughout this year, and at the end of every month I shall give my report using the following categories;

Top Three Branches For Customer Service

Worst Three Branches For Customer Service

Best Branch For Customer Service

Worst Branch For Customer Service

Yes, I know KPMG already does an annual report, but my monthly reports will not only be a damn better read, but also easy to understand and far easier to relate with. My aim is not to ridicule or target banks or individuals, but to radically improve customer service in our nation’s banks.

My criteria will always remain the same;

*Branch Convenience

*Queue Management

*Customer Service Effectiveness

*Smile – Friendliness

*Staff Product Knowledge

*Staff Appearance

*Service Mentality

Best Branch On The Island

This month’s Winner is Ecobank – Adeola Odeku branch. I must confess that I was quite shocked by how patient and detailed the customer service personnel were. Although they never smiled once, they really paid attention to my questions, and saw to it that I was more than satisfied. One gentleman was so good that I actually almost opened a bank account with Ecobank right there and then. In-fact I’m pretty sure if he’d smiled I may well have done. In order to assess whether or not the rest of the customer facing staff were as patient with customers I pretended to carefully go through the form for about ten minutes as I sneakily assessed the other staff. Every single one of them was treating customers with genuine care and patience. But not one of them was smiling!! Nevertheless, well done Ecobank. Now all you have to do is invest in some much needed smiling tutorials, and I’m sure myself and many others will be opening accounts with you soon.

Unfortunately there were more horror stories during my visits than there were fairy tales.

Diamond Bank – Marina

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing whilst at this branch. Not only was the lighting horrible, making the whole place resemble more of a police station as against a banking hall, but the queues were long and so slow that by the time I got to the front I was so incensed by their lackadaisical manner that I’d completely forgotten what I was there for.

Dimaond Bank – Adeola Odeku

The only words I can use for this horror-story of a banking hall and customer service personnel are – chaos, rude, and ‘please get me out of here now’!!

Heritage Bank – Marina

The customer service personnel not only didn’t smile but barely recognised my existence. I sat back for a few minutes to assess whether or not it was just me that was being treated in such a terrible manner. Nope – it wasn’t just me. They were even worse with other customers; again, as though doing customers a favour.

Heritage Bank – Adeola Odeku

Five adjectives aptly describe the customer service personnel at this branch– ‘rude’, ‘insulting’, ‘disdainful’ and incredibly ‘disrespectful’.

Zenith Bank – Adeola Odeku

I often wonder why Zenith has so many customers. Is it a myth or ludicrous hype that entices people to open an account with Zenith Bank? Whenever I enter a Zenith Bank branch I feel as though I’ve entered an old government parastatal – fully equipped with high counters that ensure customers have to stand on tip-toe in order to get a glimpse of the teller, who by the way is reveling so much in his privacy and distance from customers that he doesn’t even look up to acknowledge your existence. Next time you visit a Zenith branch take a look at the height of the teller counters and ask yourself this very simple question; ‘Is it customer friendly?’

First Bank – Adeola Odeku

There’s a young customer service lady in this branch who’s frown and disdain for customers is so blatant for all to see that very few even dare approach her for fear of been shouted at. I sat down for several minutes at this branch and assessed her behaviour towards customers. I found myself getting more and more agitated by the second. After a while I decided it was far better for my health to simply score the bank zero in customer service and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Pleasant Surprises

Union Bank – Adeola Odeku

What on earth is going on with Union Bank Visiting this branch gave me such a pleasant surprise. Before entering I had told myself I would only put up with this impending experience of life in a chaotic dungeon for two minutes. I had even set my timer. But alas, I entered into a peaceful, well lit banking hall with great use of space and very good ambiance. The customer service lady didn’t smile but she was extremely helpful. Furthermore she followed up with me twice with regards to opening an account. I had informed eight other banks that I wanted to open an account that day, and so far only this Union Bank lady has followed up. Well Done Union Bank. Whatever you’re doing seems to be working. I no longer see you in your old dark light.

GT Bank – Adeola Odeku

For ambiance alone this branch of GT Bank is head and shoulders above everybody else. Amazing space, superb lighting, – simply incredible!! In-fact my mouth was wide open in admiration when I walked into the banking hall.

But unfortunately I came back to reality when I asked one of the customer service ladies where I could get an account opening form. Not only did she not have a clue as to where I could get it (she sent me to the wrong place) but the manner in which she spoke to me was incredibly rude and dismissive. It was left to one of those chaps in the white uniform to help me get a form. GT Bank always looks great but seems to care very little about the welfare of its’ customers. Their staff are generally rude and arrogant.

Worst Branch On The Island

This month’s worst bank branch on the Island goes to – Zenith Bank, Admiralty Way (by the first gate)

I walked into this branch at about 10.30am on a Monday morning. As soon as I walked in I wanted to run straight out again. The lighting was horrible. The queues were long and chaotic, and even the seating areas looked as though their designated names are ‘chaos’ and ‘nightmare’. After hovering around the customer service area for a few minutes a young lady walked up to me in typical frown and ‘I’m doing you a favour mode’ and asked me what I wanted. After telling her she then pointed to a shelf of forms and said ‘’ fill that form’’. I asked her which form exactly and she just pointed again in a general direction. That was the last straw. I sparked – letting her know her job is to help customers, and that contrary to what she may think she is not doing us a favour, but we are doing her a favour because we are the ones paying her salary.

The nightmare didn’t end there. When I queued in order to deposit some cash, I noticed how rude the tellers are to the customers. These guys really believe they’re doing customers a favour!!! In my view the height of Zenith’s teller counters further exacerbates the bad attitude towards customers. What I’m about to tell you is no exaggeration. Once he had stamped my deposit receipt, the teller literally flung the teller paper at me – without so much as a glance. I was so shocked that I asked ‘oga, is that how you treat your customers? You throw the teller paper at them??’’ On hearing this the rest of the customers on the queue laughed. Yes, what I said may have been funny, but I strongly suspect their laughter was more of a ‘that’s how it is at zenith-o. That’s what we have to go through every day’ kind of laugh.

Whoever is in charge of this branch should be seriously reprimanded for overseeing a staff so rich in contempt and disdain for customers it beggars belief.

That’s it for this month. Future reports will include score cards for each bank.

So this is a message to all Bank branches in Lagos – Be Very Warned – I’m most definitely on the prowl.


Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via


Access Bank Issues AfriGO Card to Customers for Robust Payment Ecosystem



Access Bank AfriGO Card

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Access Bank has become the first financial institution in Nigeria to successfully issue the first live card of Nigeria’s national card scheme called AfriGO Card.

The card system is a product of a financial services business affiliated with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), AfriGOpay, and was designed to meet the needs of the Nigerian payment industry.

The scheme is championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and NIBSS to provide innovative solutions to users of financial services in Nigeria, Africa, and across the global markets.

The launch of AfriGO is another milestone in the development of a vibrant and rapidly expanding payments industry.

Consumers demand value in real-time, not just transactions, and with AfriGO, Access Bank says it can provide valuable card benefits, robust loyalty rewards, and a compelling incentive to utilize electronic payments rather than cash.

“It is with excitement that we announce that Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest retail bank with over 60 million customers, is the first financial institution in Nigeria to successfully issue the first live card of Nigeria’s national card scheme- AfriGO,” the Deputy Managing Director for Retail Banking at Access Bank, Mr Victor Etuokwu, said.

“The AfriGO Card has additional benefits because it is designed to facilitate the growth of Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, thereby supporting more tailored payment services.

“It will strengthen payment security, expand financial participation, guarantee data sovereignty, eliminate FX dependency, and provide Nigerians with several other benefits. Cardholders will enjoy increased affordability and more flexible payment options,” he added.

Speaking on the product launch, the Senior Retail Advisor at Access Bank, Mr Robert Giles, said, “The National card scheme operates locally, and it is tailored to the specific needs of the country. We have also recorded successful purchases on POS and ATMs, which began on March 14, 2023.

“Domestic ownership of a local card scheme eliminates demand on foreign exchange and reduces the cost of transacting.  It will also help us partner with local fintechs and payment companies to build solutions on the AfriGO scheme that solve customers’ pain points.”

According to Premier Oiwoh, the MD/CEO of NIBSS, “The payments landscape in Nigeria has continued to evolve via seamless and convenient real-time electronic payment solutions driven by innovation and advancement in technology.

“The launch of our national domestic card scheme AfriGO is very timely; AfriGO will drive our financial inclusion goals amongst many benefits, and we are thrilled that Access Bank is the first bank in Nigeria to issue AfriGO cards to its customers.

“Access Bank has demonstrated the much-needed commitment to enhancing financial inclusion, and we urge other financial institutions to commence issuing AfriGO for more accessible and convenient payments for all Nigerians, regardless of their location or financial status.”

On her part, the Executive Director for NIBSS, Ms Aminu Maida, added, “With technological advancements, there are more options for payments, and the recently launched national domestic card scheme, AfriGO, gives us assured comfort on all financial transactions. We are excited that Access Bank is the first to key into our belief of AfriGO’s immense value to the Nigerian financial ecosystem.

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Farmer Praises Stanbic IBTC for Innovative Agribusiness Financing Solutions



agribusiness financing solutions

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A poultry farmer, Mr Haissam Nawan, has commended Stanbic IBTC Bank, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, for supporting the agricultural sector in Nigeria by designing innovative agribusiness financing solutions tailored for stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Nawan is the director of Sayed Farms Limited, a company which produces and distributes day-old chicks and frozen poultry products across the country.

He testified to how the lender has aided the achievement of his business vision, which is to be one of the biggest poultry producers in the country and engage in beneficial partnerships with small and medium farmers in Nigeria.

“We have witnessed massive expansions, starting from dealing with broiler production only to diving into other aspects of poultry production, including the sale of frozen meat. Stanbic IBTC played a pivotal role in this growth.

“What sets Stanbic IBTC Bank apart is how they handhold you through the growth process with proper guidance and financial structure. Indeed, they are your trusted strategic partner for growth,” Mr Nawan said.

The Head of Commercial Clients Coverage at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Babatunde Akindele, reiterated the determination of the bank to continue to support the growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector.

“Agriculture is pivotal to national growth, and its value chain house the goldmine for consumption and exportation. We will continue to ensure expansion in the sector through valuable partnerships such as we currently have with Sayed Farms,” he said.

The Stanbic IBTC Agribusiness financing solutions are structured to support production, processing, and logistics requirements across agricultural value chains.

The bank offers credit facilities for agribusinesses that minimize risks, are versatile, and can be used for finance raw materials, vehicles and other logistic needs, and all forms of equipment.

As the Head of Agribusiness at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Wole Oshin, puts it, agribusinesses are critical for sustainable development and job creation in the country. Accelerating an inclusive agricultural sector will enhance a vibrant economy with extensive enterprise development, he noted.

“We are passionate about providing short-medium term financing solutions to solve the needs of crop and livestock producers, processors, their distribution chain, and other value chain players,” he disclosed, noting that Stanbic IBTC recognises the importance of agriculture to the Nigerian economy, and the organization is intentionally developing initiatives and fostering partnerships that support players in the sector.

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Payday Raises $3m to Expand Footprints in UK, Canada



PayDay App

By Adedapo Adesanya

Payday, a pan-African neo-bank, has announced a $3 million Seed round led by Moniepoint Inc (formerly TeamApt) to continue boosting financial presence across Western markets, especially the United Kingdom and Canada.

The new round saw contributions from HoaQ, DFS Lab’s Stellar Africa Fund, Ingressive Capital Fund II and angel investors participating in the round. The angel investors who participated in Payday’s seed round are Mr Dare Okoudjou, Founder and CEO of MFS Africa and Mr Tola Onayemi, CEO of Norebase.

In addition, existing investors, Techstars, Angels Touch, Ingressive Capital & Now Venture Partners, made follow-on investments in this round​.

This new round of funding brings Payday’s total investment to $5.1 million, following the over $2 million pre-seed round closed in 2021.

The new capital raised is for licensing to get their UK entity and operations off the ground while expanding to Canada. The company will also grow its talent base by 40 per cent to 50 employees, many of whom will come into its customer success department.

Also, the round sees two new talents join its co-founding team, Mr Elijah Kingson, Payday’s CPO and Mrs Yvonne Obike, Payday’s COO. The former previously led product design for subscription products at Revolut, the London-based neo-bank with over 25 million customers, while Mrs Obike drove MSME growth at Nigeria’s Bank of Industry, the country’s oldest and most significant development institution.

In January, it launched version three of its product, Payday 3.0, signalling an evolution into a super app with features such as local bill payments, virtual naira cards, and payment links.

In February 2023, Payday became a payment partner for Starlink, operated by SpaceX. Thus, it provides a payment method for its users in Nigeria and Rwanda, where Starlink can be purchased on the continent.

Payday claims it has processed an average of 40,000 transactions per day worth millions of dollars and adds 100,000 users monthly, bringing its base to 330,000 users.

Speaking on the new round, Mr Favour Ori, CEO and Founder of Payday, said, “This investment represents a significant milestone for our company, and we are grateful for the trust and commitment shown by our existing and new investors.

“We’re thrilled that this round of funding will lay the foundation for the continued growth of our platform as we expand our services to a wider audience.

“Our passion for empowering individuals and businesses with convenient and secure payment solutions is tangible. This funding will allow us to do so even more.”

Commenting on Moniepoint’s first-time investment in the company, CEO Tosin Eniolorunda says, “At Moniepoint, we’re excited about the unique things Favour and the team are doing with Payday. Personally, I connect deeply with his drive, technical depth, and desire to execute. The urge to encourage that fire inspired us to want to be a part of this.

“More important is the alignment in our goal to provide financial happiness by addressing key payment pain points—Moniepoint with merchants and Payday with individuals. We see a potential to leverage their infrastructure further to deepen our suite of financial services for merchants, and we’re looking forward to all that’s to come”.

Mrs Maya Horgan Famodou, Founder and MD at Ingressive Capital, said, “Favour is one of the savviest entrepreneurs I have met. He knows how to assess, execute, and pivot exactly when necessary. Hence why Payday has seen such explosive growth. This is certainly a gem in our portfolio. I’d bet on Favour and Payday again any day, both to realise the transformational value and also to make us proud with an exit the ecosystem will reference for years to come”.

Mr Sunil Sharma, Managing Director at Techstars Toronto, stated, “A word that best describes Favour Ori is relentless,” says Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto and one of the earliest investors in Payday. I was struck by his personal story, which took him from Nigeria to the US for his computer science degree and some valuable early work experience, then to Rwanda to establish a team, then to the UK and back to the US in pursuit of growth. Favour is always in search of opportunity, and nothing can get in his way.”

Payday was launched by Mr Ori in June 2021 from Rwanda to facilitate global payments from and to Africa, with a widespread use case for remote African workers to receive payments from their employers and spend anywhere in the world. Its incorporation in Rwanda and admission into Techstars Toronto accelerator made it the first time the latter admitted a Rwandan startup into its three-month accelerator programme.

The fintech startup allows those on the continent and in the diaspora to send and receive money in 23 currencies, including USD, GBP, and EUR, from over 130 countries. Thus, Africans who work remotely can receive their money in foreign currency and withdraw in the currency of their choice using virtual Mastercard and Visa cards. Alongside Rwanda, Payday is operational in Nigeria and, more recently, the United Kingdom.

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