By Dipo Olowookere
Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) operating in Nigeria have been advised by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, to set realistic targets for their marketers.
The number four citizen of the country gave this advice when he received the board and management of Standard Chartered Bank, led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lamin Manjang, in his office in Abuja recently.
The lawmaker from Lagos State lamented the current situation where commercial banks send out their employees to get new customers who must deposit a huge among of money within a specific period of time.
In some cases, these banks workers, especially the females, end up having romantic affairs with potential customers in order to meet their targets. This has made several people view female bankers, especially marketers, as corporate prostitutes.
Business Post recalls that some years ago, Mr Gbajabiamila sponsored a bill to put an end to corporate prostitution but it did not see the light of the day.
So, when he received the executives of Standard Chartered Bank in his office a few days ago, he used the opportunity to appeal to the lender and others in the sector to come up with creative ways of selling their products and services and not be exploitative with their marketing styles.
“You have corporations in the UK and other parts of the world. What is obtained here in banking, in terms of marketing, sending people to go and knock at people’s offices and all that; does it obtain in those places?
“If it doesn’t obtain in those countries, it is not international best practice; why should it obtain here?” the Speaker queried.
He advised that, “We have to set realistic targets for the marketers. We have the responsibility to protect Nigerians and we also have the responsibility not to kill your business. So, it is a delicate situation. We need to know the kind of marketing that takes place. Is it digital marketing?”
Also, Mr Gbajabiamila pointed out another issue in the banking sector in Nigeria, bank charges, noting that there have been allegations of hidden charges.
“We have issues that come up in your industry, so this visit is a welcome development.
“One of the issues at stake is the rate at which banks charge customers.
“There are claims that banks have hidden charges. This has come up a couple of times on the floor of the House. This is something that we should look into,” he said.
According to him, this situation has made many bank customers helpless, urging players in the industry to quickly address the issue.
“We are here to support you. Whatever we need to do, we should do it to support you,” he assured.
In his remarks, Mr Manjang assured that the issues raised by the Speaker would be looked into, noting that for the marketing point, “It is not peculiar to Nigeria, but it has to be ethical.”
“Teams usually go round, but the ethical conduct has to be there. You need to market your products for people to know what you offer. If there are any abuses or conducts that are not ideal, they should be called out and addressed,” he noted.
He stated that Standard Chartered Bank operates in Nigeria in line with international best practices, noting that the bank will also carry out its operations to make all stakeholders happy.
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