If you are coming to settle in Ghana and you are looking for a bank account, I suggest you stay away from Ecobank. To say it is the worst bank in the land in an understatement. Think of the worst banking experience you have had X10, it still wouldn’t be as bad as my experiences with them. You can say I’m picky, you can say I’m too British, you can even say my standards are too high, but hear me out before you draw your conclusion.
I’ll start with the story of my colleague. There is an SSB ATM machine close to our office. We found out that the business of cloning cards has arrived in Ghana when a few colleagues had the pleasure of money mysteriously exiting their accounts. Living in London I had got used to covering the keypad as I entered my pin, but some other not so fortunate colleagues had yet to learn that lesson. So amongst these people a lady in my office, an ecobank customer had her’s cloned and money taken out. Long story short, it’s been almost a year since she notified the bank and cancelled her card. The money stolen still hasn’t been reimbursed and the arsehole’s have been debiting her for ATM card fees even though she cancelled her card and said she does not want a replacement one.
Now to my story. Last month I went to an ATM machine, the one by the Top Oil filling station on the Adjiganor road. I attempted to take out 260ghs. I say attempted as the machine said it was not authorised to give me the money or something like that and spat out my card. I then got an email notification to say however that the money had come out of the account. I call the bank, and they say they have seen the problem, and a reversal will be done in the next 24 hours.
A month later, I attempt to take 100ghs at the same ATM. The same thing happens. I realise that not only did it happen again, but the first reversal never happened, so I call again. The customer service assistant gives me the same scripted speech. That was 2 weeks ago.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had moved some money around so that I would not end up spending frivolously and to make sure I have enough money to pay my mortgage. However, I realised that I had come up short. Hey I am a Finance graduate, my sister is an accountant and younger sister did business, we count all our pennies. Still this reversal had not been done. That’s when I went into bitch mode and called the bank. Let’s see if your script has anything to say to a customer like me. I speak to a lady called Margaret. “It takes about 3 working days for the reversal to take effect”, err I think this is slightly above the 3 days I tell her. I just went into one, the banks credibility is zero right now, I didn’t insult her but had a few choice words about the bank.
She said she would find out and call me back, we had this conversation at 8am, she called me back at 4pm. I missed the call so I called back. That’s when I had to go through the whole problem once again with Nii. A lot of help he was, after going through the issue again, chick didn’t write down which ATM I said I took the money out from. My voice started to rise and I went into one again, I don’t know if the call dropped or the idiot cut me off, but I called back. That’s when Gerald picked up. Nii will call you back he’s on another call he says. I said I will hold, after about 5 minutes I heard Nii in the background saying to tell me he’ll call back. Before Gerald could pass on the message I said “I said I will hold”. Finally got hold of Nii and then we go around the castle again. It ended up with him telling me that he will log the issue in with head office and follow up, but he’ll call back today. It was already 5.30 and because that stupid cow Margaret had taken so long to get back to me I couldn’t even call the head office myself to blast them. So I wait.
I call today, forgotten the girl I spoke to, the same old scripted speech. So I ask her, put herself in my shoes, how would you feel, I am literally paying for people’s inefficiencies. She tells me she understands but head office is closed today. So 48 hours of being practically penniless until then. It is so infuriating. I swear if by Monday this is not resolved I will take every last pesewa, pound and cent out of that bank because I am pissed off. A bunch of university graduates who have no common sense who put on a suit and tie every morning to drink tea in an air conditioned office. When you go into any of their bank its glaring. You will see a queue going through the door but yet one teller and people chatting in the background.
I used to work in a bank, retail, worked at customer service, foreign and local teller, during the busy period wherever you are, if you’re doing nothing, you chip in. The worst thing you can do for a customer is sit around doing nothing while they are waiting and tell them its not your job. I had applied for banking jobs here when I first came down, but I am glad I didn’t, the frustration of working with no brainers would have sent me to the local asylum. Had I made bank manager, well I’m sure there would have been a high turnover.
In one month I am nearly 400ghs down. Who knows if other monies have spread wings and flown away. In future though I will withdraw cash over the counter it seems like the safest bet definitely won’t be using that ATM at top oil though.
Definite no-no on Ecobank. Barclays you would think with it being such a huge international institute would be of top class, but they kind of suck too. The trust bank don’t appear to be that trustworthy and are merging with Ecobank so that rules them out. Not sure about SG-SSB, or Standard Chartered but if you have any thoughts on them, let me know.
If you want to open a bank account here in Ghana, I would suggest the Nigerian banks, Zenith, UBA or Fidelity. They seem to be the most serious, whatever their faults Nigerians don’t play around with money and know the value of professionalism. Or use some to by some treasury bills from Databank and stick the rest under your bed.