Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Hunt for Red, Erm, November...or Trials and Tribulations of Banking with SG-SSB


In a style reminiscent of my ATM frenzy in May, where I spent hours looking for a working ATM, I spent the better part of the afternoon trying—yet again—to get money out – this time not just from the ATM, but also from the banking hall itself!

I save with SG-SSB, and wanted to get some money from there—only to be caught in some serious and heavy traffic around the so-called "Circle" road that leads up to BusyInternet for around forty minutes(!). Not to speak of the myriad of shortcuts that only led to…more traffic:-( When you start dosing in traffic and that heat emanating around the capital between 1 and 2 pm, then you know you’ve been in traffic for more time than necessary. It’s a good thing I had my sunglasses to hide behind my dosing;-)

Seriously, though, I cannot for the life of me understand why I had to chase all the SG-SSB banks in the ‘hood. I went to my own branch—only to be told that I couldn’t even withdraw money from my account because there was a memo on it about ATM transactions from…another branch!

When I went to that other branch (Accra Main), which happens to be that of the picture I took, I spent a good thirty minutes shuttling between looking for the lady who wrote the memo, and the be-spectacled and pin-stripe-suit-clad manager (a very easygoing middle-aged man who was very affable) of the branch who broke between twi and very good English [he spoke twi with most of his bank staff!] who elucidated the whole mystery for me

The explanation pissed me off no-end: what had spawned the memo, which had by way of condition "no withdrawal" of sorts, was something that could have taken a phone call to fix: at the time that the bank had withdrawn charges (15,000 GH Cedis [by July 2007, it will be 1.5 [new] GH Cedis] for the use of the ATM card, I had insufficient money in the bank. Very soon afterwards, I got some money in. The problem, then, was a non-starter. All the bank had to do was to simply debit my account with the appropriate charges!

As a result of this, it cost me a good three hours roaming round that part of the capital, and incurring a hefty sum of 190,000 Ghanaian cedis, which is around €17 for a good three hours. That the taxi-driver had seen me going from bank to bank…to bank did not help me in shielding me from what I still consider to be an exorbitant sum. At least, I should have been charged 150,000 cedis maximum. He was complaining, looking all-pensive about that initial sum, saying he will be "hot", etc, so I was compelled to give him an extra 40,000—very much to my chagrin.

Long and short: remind me to remind you to (a)have sufficient money in the savings account next time, and (b) maybe, re-consider saving with this bank.

If that sounds cruel, well, just to add that I liked the manner in which the manager had a walk-in policy; that was very encouraging. You don’t get that at my main bank of ECOBANK.

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