How unseen aggressors inside GTBank are driving customers away

Under the polished veneer of Guaranty Trust Bank’s modern facades and its acclaimed reputation for financial acumen and corporate responsibility, a sinister trend is taking root.

The very individuals entrusted with safeguarding and serving customers—cashiers and security personnel—are becoming the bank’s internal menace.

This growing undercurrent of hostility is threatening to dismantle the trust GTBank has painstakingly built over the years.

Imagine stepping into the hallowed halls of Guaranty Trust Bank, anticipating the seamless banking experience the institution is known for. Instead, you are greeted with an unsettling spectacle: tellers who eye your every move, ready to pounce with a mix of beggary and belligerence, and security guards whose protectiveness morphs into menacing extortion. This is the new, disconcerting reality for customers at GTBank’s Lagos branches.

If Guaranty Trust Bank has built its solid reputation on financial wizardry and corporate social responsibility, the growing obnoxiousness of the tellers at its different branches in Lagos may be the bad deed that could bring all its good deeds into disrepute.

Indeed, the bank is earning another kind of reputation its promoters may be oblivious to – its tellers, some of whom investigations revealed are becoming a menace to their customers and, by extension, the society. In the last couple of weeks, not a few customers have openly complained about the beggarly and abusive disposition of the tellers who count depositors’ money.

A particular customer disclosed the modus operandi of the tellers thus: “When you enter into the banking hall, their eyes are on you, watching whether you came to withdraw or not. When you bring out the money, their eyes light up, they raise their hands in the manner of ‘Area Boys’ and would be all over you, curtseying and genuflecting and singing your praises, not minding whether they are much older. Woe betides you if you failed to ‘drop’. Instantly, they turn the praises to outright abuses, wondering aloud how miserly one is with their money, and you would be left wondering whether you are under any compulsion to part with your money.” The customer said no branch is absolved from this practice in Lagos.

Another customer disclosed that the GTB security personnel equally have perfected the art of mendicancy to an embarrassing level. With a narrative similar to the above, he added, “It is even worse when you are a regular face at a particular branch and you are noted for not giving them money. They will hardly ever find you a space to park your car and when you do find one yourself, efforts would be made to prevent you from doing so. If you were adamant, the kind of words they would rain on you would make you regret banking at that branch. This is a menace that if the bank does not quickly nip in the bud may turn many customers away.”

However, it is often said that there is no animal in the world, other than the gentle human, who is so dominated that when asked to labour while hungry for even the smallest amount of food that is poor in nutrition, they do it gladly.

And that, perhaps, sums up the situation of the tellers and security guards at GTBank branches. Hungry and broke, they seek food unabashedly and with a predatory instinct.

An insurance executive who preferred not to be named explained how she had gone to the Town Planning Way, Ilupeju branch of Wema Bank to make a withdrawal and was scared shitless by her experience.

As she made to drive out of the parking lot, she said that a security guard came to her side, tapped on the window and reminded her that they were the ones watching over her car. “He didn’t stop there,” she recalled, adding, “he then said that it would be wicked of me to leave without tipping them. I was shocked, of course, but I gave him N500. I don’t know what gave him the boldness to talk that way. But I quickly reflected that these people could arrange with outsiders to rob me on my way. I plan to register my displeasure with the bank.”

Indeed, no Nigerian bank, customers allege, is immune from this untoward trend which they concur is borne out of the pocket-money wages they receive. “These are grown men and women with families and they earn what I’d give my kid for tidying their bedroom,” she said. She implored bank CEOs to look into the situation before it turned ugly saying, “At the rate these guys are going, they might be the ones with guns robbing people openly at the ATMs.”

Horrid Experiences of Customers:
A business owner, Mr. Tunde, recounted a particularly harrowing experience at the Ikoyi branch. “I went in to make a substantial withdrawal for payroll. As soon as the teller saw the amount, her demeanor changed. She kept hinting that I should show appreciation. I was already running late, so I ignored her. By the time I got back to the office, I realised that she had shorted me several thousand naira. When I went back to complain, she acted as if she didn’t recognize me and refused to help. It was only after I threatened to involve the branch manager that she reluctantly corrected the error. But the whole experience was humiliating.”

Ms. Ada, a teacher, shared a similarly disturbing incident at the Ikeja branch. “I went to deposit some money and the teller was very friendly at first, asking about my day and making small talk. But then she asked if I could ‘spare something small’ for her. When I politely declined, citing my tight budget, her friendliness evaporated. She became cold and deliberately slow, handling my transaction as if she had all the time in the world. Other customers were served before me, even those who arrived after I did. It was clear she was punishing me for not tipping her.”

Mr. James, a retiree, faced a different kind of intimidation at the Victoria Island branch. “Every time I visited to withdraw my pension, the security guards would crowd around my car, demanding tips for helping me park. On one occasion, when I didn’t have any change to give them, they blocked my car and wouldn’t let me leave until I handed over some money. They even threatened to report me for creating a scene. It was terrifying, especially for someone my age.”

The distressing accounts from customers reveal a dark and growing crisis within the walls of GTBank. As the pressures of inadequate wages push tellers and security guards towards unprofessional and aggressive behavior, the once hallowed banking experience turns nightmarish. Guaranty Trust Bank must address these internal challenges with urgency and empathy, ensuring that the integrity of its service remains untarnished. Only then can it hope to sustain the trust and respect of its clientele, securing its legacy for the future.

Courtsey: TheCapital

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