By Cecil Mensah
Numerous customers of Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd, are teething with anger over the treatment meted out to them by the managers of the bank.
One of the leading commercial banks which sponsors the English Premier League (EPL), is engaged in some under hand dealings with its customers.
The bank, has been embroiled in the mistreatment of its customers, charging astronomical fees on Cost of Transactions (COT), when some banks have scraped these charges.
The bank, after creating panic with the unilateral introduction of the 17.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) announced by the Ministry of Finance in the 2015 budget statement, has been at the forefront of mistreatment of its customers.
The bank in January, sent various text messages to its customers, directing them to visit their branches to have their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards updated and synchronized with their new Information Communication Technology (ICT) system to avoid ATM fraud.
Without any proper information on the part of the bank, the Ghanaians mangers, went ahead to block customers’ access to their bank accounts, thereby creating embarrassments and inconveniencing them.
Several of the bank’s customers around Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Abeka Lapaz, Osu, Farisco avenue, Legon, Dansoman (1) and (2), Motorway, Airport, Kaneshie branches among others, could not access their accounts after trekking miles to their branch.
Interestingly, The Herald can report that; the Motorway branch along the George Walker Bush N1 near the plush office of Tullow Oil and not far from the Military Dog Training school in North Dzorwulu, has been closed down without further notice to their customers.
According to some customers, they drove there only to be told by the security at the gate that, the branch has been closed.
This embarrassing incident on the part of the bank that was neck deep in insuring the slave ships in the latter part of the eighteen century during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade occurred because of the bank’s inability to fully inform customers about the decision to block access to their ATMs.
An interesting excuse an official of the bank assigned for the inability of some customers to access their cash was that, their ATM cards have expired.
Customers who found themselves in this situation, were treated as if they were new customers seeking to open new accounts, they were ask to provide their passport pictures and take new forms, when they are already operating existing accounts.
The Herald can report that till date, some customers cannot access their accounts, because they cannot readily recall their signatures used in opening accounts.
All attempts to have the bank to correct the anomaly have proven futile, as the bank is adamant in showing the signature to the customers.
Among other things, some customers have had their current accounts closed, without being informed by the bank.
Some customers, The Herald can report walked to the bank to transact business on their accounts, only to be told that, the account has been pulled down till further notice.
The Herald has been informed that, some savings account holders, have had their accounts closed even though they have a minimum savings amount on the accounts.
It is, however, not clear why customers of the bank are taken through such mistreatment, when other banks are urging prospective customers to come open zero balance accounts.
As many of the banks, particularly the Nigerian owned, have embarked on Know Your Customer (KYC) exercise by periodically sending text messages to their customers alerting them of one problem or another, Barclays is taking its clients for granted.
Some are raising questions about what the Central Bank was doing to safeguard the interest of such customers.
The Herald, will soon be publishing the complaints of customers across the country.