Asaba is the capital of oil rich Delta State, strategically located on a hill at the western edge of the majestic River Niger. Beyond The Banking Hall (BBH) crew with Omos Oyinbode visited some of the banks’ branches in the city and writes that while GTB, Ecobank and firstBank are offering good services, Union, Skye and Wema Banks are faced with the challenge of low customers patronage
Asaba, the Delta State capital harbors Union Bank, First Bank, Ecobank, Wema Bank, Acess Bank, Stanbic IBTC, First City Momument Bank (FCMB), Fidelity Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), Diamond Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank, KeyStone Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Skyebank and Sterling Bank.
One thing special with the banks is that 95 per cent of all the bank branches are located along the major Nnebsis Road, the most popular and busiest road in the state capital. This may not be unconnected with the fact that Asaba is an emerging state capital and Nnebisi Road is the major road connecting every part of the city to the other. It is the longest road from one of the city to the other. Its name begins from the Flyover Bridge, otherwise called Inter Bau round About, through to the Abraka end where it joins with the highway leading to Onitsha, the business city of Anambra State. All secondary roads are connected to the Nnebisi Road, hence, it is the centre of all activities and all business transactions in the state capital.
When Beyond the Banking Hall visited FirstBank which is reputed for its large number of customers, it was observed that the bank has two branches in Asaba, but the one located close Stephen Keshi Stadium is always busier. This branch has a very large packing space inside the fenced premises; hence it is one of the banks in the city where customers drive directly inside and leaving the road side free of vehicles.
The branch has three functional Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) built and attached to the fence outside for customers’ use. It has shades which covers customers as they withdraw their money. It was also gathered the queues at the ATM point in this branch increases once, it is 10am to about 4pm. During this period of time, there is always a large number of persons crowding the ATMs for cash withdrawal.
FirstBank has good and well behaved staff in Asaba branches. Most cashiers would greet customers before attending to their needs at the counter inside the banking hall. Because of the large customers the bank has, one would always see long queues of customers depositing money in the bank. After filling the deposit slips, some would sit down and wait for their turn to join the queue. The security men are always at alert. They open the door for customers and greet them as they come in and go out after the transactions. However, one noticeable problem with the FirstBank in Asaba is its policy of anybody withdrawing less than 100,000 naira to use the ATM. This has compelled many customers to obtain their ATM cards. Ecobank:
Ecobank is another bank with large number of customers in Asaba. Its large number of customers may not be unconnected with its acquisition of Oceanic Bank during the days of banking capitalisation by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Almost every day, long queues are at Ecobank. Ecobank has three branches in Asaba. One at Nnebisi Road, beside Federal Medical Centre (FMC), another opposite the Flyover Bridge and the third along Okpanam Road.
When BBH visited the branch beside FMC, the security men were alert as they observed every customer coming into the bank before they allow them inside the bank. When customers have issues with the computerised door, they are always there to assist the customers. This branch has three ATMs located outside with a shade to ward off rain or sun from customers. This branch also experiences long queues on daily basis because it has large pool of customers. This Ecobank branch however, has very little space for parking cars, both inside and outside. In fact, customers are not allowed to park their cars inside because of its limited space.
Access Bank has only one Branch in Asaba. It is located opposite Federal Medical Centre and beside the Uzoigwe Primary School along the Nnebsis Road. The bank dumped its first building after acquisition of old Intercontinental bank and moved its staff and equipment over to the acquired bank. It was fenced prior to the acquisition, but after acquisition, the bank demolished the Intercontinental fence, thereby creating enough parking space for customers.
Guarantee Trust Bank:
Guarantee Trust Bank has only one branch in Asaba. It has one of the finest banking environment in the city with beautiful edifice situated along Nnebisi Road, a few metres drive from the Flyover Bridge. GTB is open without fence as in the case of Access Bank. It has five ATMs which are functional at all times. The bank’s security personnel are unique and well organised in the discharge of their duties. It use to experience long queues because it has a large pool of customers banking. There is adequate space for parking cars.
Union Bank in Asaba, located along Nnebisi Road, immediately before the stadium, has enough parking space inside the fenced bank premises. This Union Bank however, has low customers’ patronage in Asaba. The bank’s staffs are not fully engaged as other bankers in other banks. Despite the fact that they have fewer customers, the cashiers do all they can to deliver effective services abd attend to the few customers. This bank’s branch has a large packing space, which is rarely utilized by its few customers. It has two functional ATMs but with few customers who patronise it on a daily basis as well.
Skye Bank, also located along Nnebisi Road, has two functional ATMs. It is fenced but has limited space for parking cars. It is not as busy as other banks. This is so because it has few customers that patronise the bank in Asaba.
Wema Bank is located along Nnebisi Road, opposite Diamond Bank. It has enough packing space but due to its poor patronage, its packing space is under utilised. It has one ATM which is barely patronised by bank customers as they are very few too.
The United Bank of Africa (UBA) has three branches in Asaba. The first one is opposite Lion House, another close to Ibusa Road and the third almost opposite Grand Hotels and High Court. The branch opposite Lion House has seven ATMs, five outside the fence with well built cubicle and two inside. The five outside are more functional than the two inside. It does not have enough parking spaces. For this, most customers park outside the fence. It has dedicated staff who are well organised in discharging their duties. Security men are always at alert just as they have the courtesy of opening gates for customers and assisting when necessary.
Fidelity Bank has only one branch in the Asaba, located along Nnebisi Road. It has four ATMs positioned outside the bank. The bank is always very busy and experiences long queues of customers most of the time. It lacks adequate parking space; due to this, the bank’s security operatives are always seen controlling vehicular movement along the road so as to pave way for customers coming and going out of the bank.
Stanbic IBTC also has one branch in Asaba. The bank is situated opposite The Pointer Newspapers. It has a very serene environment, cool and clean. It also has a good parking space for customers. The bank has two functional ATMs positioned at the banking premises.