These days it takes about two to three hours to conduct business at a bank. At every bank in Kigali City one finds very long queues, or in the case of such banks that have installed electronic numbering systems, many customers come and get their numbers, then go back to office, to return after hours have elapsed. It is sheer pain going to a bank.
Bank directors and managers should do something to alleviate this situation. The country cannot afford to keep their productive human resources in banks for hours on end – it will lose incalculable business and money.
It is pretty obvious that banks, like other sectors in the country, are hard-put to get qualified staff. There are few tellers in branches, who cannot deal with the big influx of customers.
We should regard booming bank business as a positive sign that the economy is growing, instead of ruing increased bank use. We therefore need more banks, bank branches, and staff.
This is a call to more investors to cash in on this sector, as it is obvious that it is far from being glutted. Banks should also recruit more staff – there are surely many graduates out there walking the streets looking for employment.
Lastly but perhaps most important, banks should invest more in technology to do smart business. This newspaper has only recently run an article in this very space about Automatic Teller Machines being inefficient.
We need more of them working 24 hours, now more than ever before. Even the maximum threshold of withdrawal from ATMs should be raised considerably from the current Frw200,000 a day.
But sad to say, there are banks which do not even have computers. Every transaction is manual – moving files, counting money, and so on. Manual banks in this age?
Banks like BCR that have started online banking programmes should carry out massive sensitisation so that e-banking really takes off and eases banking hall tension that is their trademark today.
In the absence of enough qualified staff, banks should have technology working for them. But it will not be sustainable to do business with a bank and that business takes hours. It can only turn away clientele.