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Bank Customers Decry Absence Of COVID-19 Protocol

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Customers of some banks in Abuja have decried the poor compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines. The customers spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Some of the COVID-19 guidelines for banks include the provision of hand sanitiser, hand washing facilities, temperature check, use of face mask and physical distancing.

NAN checks revealed that physical distancing was not being practiced by some banks in Garki Area 3 as many customers were seen standing outside in clusters waiting to be called inside by security officers.

NAN reports that part of the guidelines for the reopening of business premises including banks was that canopies and chairs shoulď be provided for customers outside the banking hall.

This is to ensure that the banking hall is not jam packed.

Also, there were no hand washing facilities and most of them were not wearing face masks.

However, there were bottles of hand sanitiser and temperature check facility.

Some of the customers who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity expressed disappointment over the inability of the banks to provide seats for them which made it impossible for them to practice physical distancing.

A customer told NAN that he was not happy with the situation, saying “see how crowded this place is, we are not observing physical distancing, if you look around, some people are not wearing face mask.

“Some of us are seated on the floor at the pavement outside the bank, touching surface of the floor but no hand washing facilities to wash our hands,’’ he said.

Another customer Abimbola Sogunle said while other banks provided canopies and chairs for their customers, some others were making it difficult for their customers.

According to the customer, some of the banks are not friendly at all in this COVID-19 era.

“I was at the bank in the morning and people were sitting on the floor all over the banking hall. I almost cursed the day I misplaced my MasterCard as it is the reason that took me to the bank.

“I carryout my transactions online, I don’t have any business queuing in the banking hall.’’

Mrs Florence Amadi said she had spent six hours outside without being attended to, adding “honestly, I am not happy. Just look at the bank opposite us, how comfortable their customers are seated.

“You can see the way all of us are here, no physical distancing, the service is poor and there are no washing facilities to wash our hands; some people have left out of anger,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, NAN checks on other banks in the area showed full compliance with the guidelines as necessary facilities were provided for the customers to protect them against COVID-19.

Customers were seen seated outside under a canopy, keeping some distance to one other, waiting to be called inside in the banking hall in an orderly manner.

The banks also provided hand washing facilities and even a register for customers in case there was any suspected case of the virus for easy contact tracing.

Mr Akinwale Ishola, Head of Corporate Communications at Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank PLC told NAN that the bank had been enjoying the cooperation of customers since the guidelines were introduced.

“We make sure that we provide bottles of hand sanitiser, wash hand basins and we send text messages to our customers on COVID-19 information. So far, we have not had problem with any customer.

“They wear face mask when they are entering the banking hall, we have re-arranged the sitting arrangement to ensure two meters physical distancing  is observed and the level of compliance has been good,’’ he said.

NAN checks on banks at Jikwoyi-Nyanya road, in the FCT, revealed that they were in compliance with the Federal Government and NCDC guidelines toward fighting COVID-19.

customers were being attended to one after another, with face mask without which they would not be allowed into the bank premises or be attended to.

Mrs Beatrice Ekoh, a customer said the pandemic was discouraging people from going to the banks.

”Although, this is a good way of reducing the spread of the virus, but going to the bank this period is very stressful,” she said.

Another customer, Mr Samuel Bitrus commended the banks, but however, appealed to them to increase the speed at which they attend to their customers.

”The bank provided seats for customers which is not done by many other banks,” he said.

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