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The Return of Tally Numbers in Nigerian Banks

Most Nigerian banks worked hard to get customers out of the bank halls through digital technologies: ATM, mobile apps, USSD, etc. Of course, you do not need mats as Lomaji Ugorji did many decades ago. But it seems the halls are getting busier these days.

Last time I visited home, I observed one thing: MORE Nigerians came for service related issues in the bank than to collect money! I went for a service issue myself because a Treasury Bills investment I made many years ago, on “perpetuity until cancelled by me”, was aborted by my bank. Apparently, requiring a monthly renewal would get it some small extra fees.

Even Tally Numbers are coming back if you check. They solved these issues years ago when they moved us from bank halls to machines. But today, the numbers are coming back because customers are not getting top-grade services. You may not go to collect cash in the bank hall. But it is likely ATM swallowed your card or one stupid debit happened. Somehow you need a Tally because there is crowd.

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Certainly, banking is our best industry but it needs to fix its service paralysis. The pursuit of fees must be re-evaluated in the industry. Otherwise, it would lose many of the customers. The Guardian reminded me in this piece:

Bank customers are unhappy. Banking halls are full again. “Tally numbers” have returned in a more sophisticated manner and this time it is mainly for people with customer service-related issues. It has taken two months for a bank to replace a faulty security token tied to my bank account. The service gap seems to be widening daily.

There is an increasing air of despair and frustration at the dismal service levels, and this can only mean one thing for the banks—the customers will seek better alternatives. Those alternatives are already providing services like consumer credit and others.