Last Minute Rush to Pay School
Today I was at one of the Equity Bank branches and was astonished by the Kenyan Culture of ‘last minute rush.’ This is a situation where you wait till the last day to take action.
In the banking Hall, there were numerous high School students (there might have been Colleges students but since they do not wear uniforms I won’t comment about them) waiting to pay their School fees before heading back to School. I do not know what all these fellow Kenyans were waiting for before paying their fees.
Adoption of new technologies
It seems the bank which is known for its innovativeness had adopted the ticketing system. A number of clients were not aware of that. Therefore, they were just seated hoping that the queue will move for them to get served. Shock was on them.
Further, the bank has invested on a large network of Agents at the grassroots level. That may be the reason why the bank does not have many tellers these days. This made the congestion at the bank worse.
Those who had no patience questioned one of the senior employees at the branch to explain why there were so few tellers serving the clients.
I was surprised that that employee would avoid answering that question like leprosy. He had a way of just ignoring that question and giving an answer which had no relation to the original quizz.
I am not sure why nowadays there very few tellers at our banks but I guess it may be due to automation of some of the routine tasks such as cash withdrawals and agency banking. By the way the senior Officer mentioned that his bank has a network of 5,000 Agents Across Kenya.
He humbly requested those who were seeing to deposit their money to consider doing so at the nearest Agents.
I learned that I am slowly growing Old School when I discovered that I can’t deposit my postgraduate School fees with the agent. I had my reservations. One, my previous experience has show me that the majority of bank Agents in the outskirts of most urban areas do not have enough ‘float’ to enable customers deposit their money at one agent shop.
Therefore, assuming you want to deposit KES 50,000 into a School fees account, you will run from one shop to another depositing that amount in piecemeal. That is, 3,000 here, 7,000 there until you full deposit your KES 50,000. This can expose you to fraudsters and as a result we ‘the new old-school‘ prefer doing it the old way. Going to the bank branch.
As my ticket number was about to be announced over the Public Address system by the ‘automated’ beautiful voice I realized that I had been given a deposit slip for Kenya Methodist University Instead of Kenyatta University my alma mater.
I quickly panicked but quickly took control of the situation. At the Customer care desk I would not wait for the Customer a head of me to be served. I just requested for the right deposit slip over his shoulder. I knew the consequences of getting jumped on the queque. It means you have to Source for a new ticket and wait all over again for another chance to make the transaction.
On receiving the deposit slip I just walked straight to counter No. 3 and made my case heard.
“I’m deposing this amount of money on Ku fees collection account,” I said quickly as I wrote on the deposit slip with my blue branded Pen.
She quickly made the withdrawal and handed me the withdrawal slip for signing. I told myself that making financial transactions should happen more often in my life. 🙂
Withdrawal complete, we moved to the next level without much ado. I did not know that we were facing a new hurdle and with the asymmetry of information I was at the most disadvantaged position because my bank teller seemed to be aware that we are only trying. I first saw it in her body language but after a moment she confided the same on me. I was disappointed but then I knew that matter were outside our jurisdiction and I had to seek for another plan.
Encounters with technical problems
I always tell my readers that there are some problems which are outside your control. For instance, you have a good intention of repaying a debt but you find that the system is ‘down‘ or there is a downtime as they call it. What will you do? Of course, you either wait, go elsewhere or come another day. The last minute Kenyans will not wait, they will move to another branch or to the other bank in the neighbourhood even if they do not like it.
As a typical last minute Kenyan I moved to Coop Bank headed by one Dr. Gideon Muriuki. That is how thin is the line between gaining or losing business. Equity lost Coop gained in a blinking on an eye. I wish businesses has working and reliable systems. This would not have happened.
I kept wondering over what the teller told me.
“The Kenyatta University System has not been working well with our system since Saturday, ” the lady cashier behind the counter told me.
The lingering rhetorical question in my mind was: has any action been taken to remedy the situation? or is it business as usual?
I moved swiftly towards my house Instead of moving towards the next bank or branch. I am always good at setting priorities. Who would continue waiting in a winding queque on an empty stomach? You may find yourself yawning loudly at these public place. I rushed home, took some breakfast before embarking on the second phase of my mission ‘lipa School fees’.
I ride my motor cycle to the other bank (coop) this time round with Walter. I had strategized that now being a busy day we will have to try our luck from two angles. One of us to try getting to the counter at Coop while I trying getting served at my former employer (Family Bank). The second option did not see the light of the day because we found that the banking Hall at Coop was nearly desertted. There were less than 10 customers a head of us.
Here at Coop we asked the security Officer for deposit slip but he directed us to the County indicating that “hapa hauna hizo deposit slip, just walk to the County and they will serve you. ”
As a doubting Thomas I look around to see whether there are any deposit slip but there were none to be seen.
I walked majestically to the counter and presented my case before the honorable cashier.
I was surprised when he pulled a gadget like the one used by banking Agents and started feeding in my data as presented in a hand written piece of paper. That way I made sure that the banking experience is not complete Paperless. At least I came with my piece of paper which had my student registration number written upon it. That way I felt in control of the situation bacause the bank was serving me on my own terms. 😁
Next time banks should define Paperless banking by mentioning that customers should not come with their own papers to the bank. That way we can truly save our forests.
I was served without any drama despite receiving a Shock that the teller Officer took the role of a banking agent when he used similar tools as those used by the Agents.
That was the story. It is a day well spent for a ‘last minute Kenyan.”