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Are banks doing enough to tackle Ebola

Published by Tribune on Sat, 06 Sep 2014

A customer of one of the nation's new generation banks had complained of recent 'harassment' he suffered at the Alausa branch of his bank in his bid to transact business at that branch recently.'A staff stationed at the entrance of the bank pointed what looked like a gun, but which actually turned out to be a device, used to measure the level of an individual's temperature, at me and other customers that had come to transact business within the bank's premises. And, once it was considered within range, the individual would be made to go through the process of hand washing before being allowed into the banking hall,'' the customer had complained.Though, he was allowed into the banking hall after the 'screening', what made the whole process irritating to him was the way it was carried out.'It was quite disturbing and belittling. Disturbing in the sense that customers who were once treated with royalty had suddenly become villains all because of Ebola. Does it mean there are no better ways of doing these things'' he asked rhetorically.According to him, though it has become very imperative for individuals and corporate organisations to take preventive measures regarding the spread of the disease, he, however, believes it should be done with dignity.'Being subjected to different tests at the gate is totally strange. I see it as playing to the gallery. It neither prevents nor detects the virus,' he submitted.He, nevertheless, asked Saturday Tribune what would have happened if he had been found to have traits of the virus. 'Does it mean I would be denied my hard-earned funds'' he asked.But if the above customer is complaining about the tight Ebola measure in his bank, Tosin, a customer of one of the first generation banks, is at her wit's end wondering why her bank had been lackadaisical on the issue of this virus, a case of one man's poison being another's food here.Tosin, a civil servant with the Lagos State government, found it rather curious that her bank had suddenly let down its guards concerning measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease.'The bank started well, though it was evident from its action that its major pre-occupation was to prevent the workers and not customers. The staff of the bank, a few weeks ago, were seen wearing gloves and trying as much as possible to avoid physical contact with customers.'Strangely, all these seem to have fizzled out now. The gloves are no longer there and it is now business as usual. The fear of Ebola has suddenly disappeared and this could be to everybody's peril since the bank commands a huge customer base and a very human traffic,' she said.Interestingly, Mr. Olusanya Omotosho, another civil servant with one of the Federal Goverment's parastatals, would rather see some of these measures as infringements on customers' rights.'The fact that there is an outbreak of a disease does not mean customers' rights should be violated. For instance, how do you explain a situation where customers are compelled to wait endlessly on a long queue before a bank's ATM just to make some cash deposit that is not up to N11,000' And to think that the bank only provides one ATM facility for this purpose makes it look like a deliberate way of taking it out on the hapless customers,' he said.While Omotosho is not averse to taking preventive measures against the virus, he, however, believed the bank should have also made life easier for their teeming customers too by providing different service points for such customers especially at this period.But another bank customer, Mojeed, believed what the banks should have done is to devise a strategy that would ensure that few people are at the banking hall at the same time to reduce physical contacts.'I still find it very strange that there are no measures to that effect. Banking halls are still as crowded as ever. If reducing the crowd at the banking hall is what the banks can achieve at this period, it is enough,' he said.A staff at the Alausa branch of a new generation bank, in Lagos, would not see anything strange in these measures.'It is our own response to the scourge, and this is not peculiar to us. Corporate organisations in other sectors of the economy are equally doing this. For us, what is wrong in using a device to ascertain a person that is at risk' This is a public place and I think the minimum we can do is to ensure that nobody contracts the disease from here. Other banks not doing this are on their own,' he stated.How 'strange' are these measures' Have they in actual fact infringed on customers' rights or are customers without a right in time of crisis such as this' Perhaps, finding a balancing point between taking measures and ensuring such measures do not compromise the dignity of the customers would go a long way in assuaging some of these frayed nerves,' a poser Saturday Tribune was unable to find an answer to.
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