Last Friday I visited the Republic Bank in Water Street at 1pm. There were a large number of customers in the line which was not moving, and it was very hot. I counted 18 teller booths but only 5 tellers were working until the bank was about to close.
I left that line after about 25 minutes and went over the Foreign Business Department to a line with just twelve customers. I stood up there for one hour and the line did not move. I counted 8 booths there, but only 2 tellers were working and they left their booths for long periods to verify documents, so all I could see was 8 empty booths with no tellers. However, plenty staff could be seen in their new Friday Bank shirts and jeans seemingly just idling their time away while customers stand for hours.
Editor, here is a bank which was recently attacked in an attempted robbery, but they gave the appearance of still having a low security profile. In addition, they have no regard for the elderly, pregnant mothers and those who just have an hour’s lunch break away from their jobs to conduct a transaction that lasts hours.
In my opinion this bank has no regard for customers’ time; they have no proper system in place. The line that deposits cheques into your account just has one teller, but he/she doesn’t give you cash, you have to join another line.
If staff go on their lunch break at 12 noon, why can’t some go for lunch at 11 am and return to replace those who go at 12? Why do they have 18 booths and only 5-6 staff working? Why do they have 8 booths at the Foreign Department and only 1-2 staff working? Has security been beefed up since the recent robbery? Why are there no special lines for working folks and those with emergencies? Why are there no toilets or washrooms at the bank?
All these are questions that have bothered me for some time. At most banks here in Guyana we are greeted with long unmoving lines, and may I say that lines are everywhere. Our banks need a more efficient and comprehensive system of administration to help customers.
A gentleman who had been in the line I was in for 3 hours to buy some foreign currency was shocked when he was told they had no foreign currency. Now the Governor of the Bank of Guyana is telling us that here in Guyana we have no shortage of foreign currency, but I am a witness to the fact that we have no foreign currency to sell at the banks.
It’s very sad that this man after waiting for three hours cannot get his business done. All they had to do was put up a computerized notice on the walls stating “No Foreign Currency for Sale”, or get two staff members to ask customers their business in the line. My biggest shocker was when I was asked by a staff member if I was born at the hospital or at home. I thought it was only in Guyana that I could hear these ridiculous questions when they have a ton of information about me in their database. Guyana is an area of profound darkness and after 51 years of independence we are indeed a fallen state where the half educated rise like the sea waves to rule us like puppets on a string.
Rev Gideon Cecil