Banking woes

2019-07-17 06:00

ON March 19, Hilton residents were informed, by a notice stuck on the window, that the Standard Bank Hilton branch would be closing at the end of June.

Hundreds of Hilton residents wrote to Standard Bank advising that this would be a big mistake, and finally on June 24, Standard Bank agreed to hold a meeting with aggrieved customers at the Hilton branch from 8 am to 9 am. During this meeting — which was attended mostly by business owners in the Hilton area who either had a requirement to deposit cash ( under safe conditions) or had a need for wages to be made up; and by older community members who did not like Internet banking and preferred dealing with the staff at the bank — it became very obvious that the decision to close the Hilton branch had been made at boardroom level as part of Standard Bank’s policy of closing over 100 branches and retrenching over 1 200 employees.

Standard Bank advised that those people who preferred the personal contact could travel to its Howick branch but they had no knowledge that there is no parking at the Howick branch.

They also seemed unaware that Hilton is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in the country, with the new John Ross shopping centre ( half the size of the Liberty Mall), and that Howick is one of the fastest growing towns in the country, despite the fact that the population of Howick is ageing, with I would guess about 10 000 residents of the Ambers, of which many banked at the Hilton branch because of the parking and safety problems associated with Howick.

Standard Bank was unconcerned about the staff at the Hilton branch who gave excellent service to customers over the years. They were not worried that many of the customers at the meeting advised that if the branch closed they would close their Standard Bank accounts. This included myself, who has banked with Standard Bank for over 40 years, most of this time at the Hilton branch. Since the meeting, I know of three large businesses that have closed their accounts.

At the conclusion of the meeting, those attending were informed that they would be contacted with regard to the closing of the branch. However, we were not contacted and the branch closed at the end of June.

What also amazes me is that although Internet fraud has increased by 18% since 2018, the banks continuously force customers into this form of banking.




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