What Happened to Once Beautiful GTBank?

What Happened to Once Beautiful GTBank?

By Azuka Onwuka

When people tell you that leadership cannot make or mar an organisation, tell them they don’t understand how things work in life.

Guaranty Trust Bank was the most innovative and customer-focused bank in Nigeria. It was different or, rather, unique. It was the bank to copy.

It used the first-name policy for all staff, including the MD and directors. On Fridays, the staff dressed down. It had no minimum balance a customer would leave in his or her account – a customer could withdraw to the last kobo. It had no cages or barriers between a teller and customer. It had no withdrawal booklets that customers must use for withdrawals to avoid being charged. Even their MDs and directors sometimes joined in attending to ┬ácustomers in the banking hall. It would always send its customers birthday messages. Its security staff were the only ones I knew among the banks that did not engage in direct or indirect begging from their customers. It had many things it did that other banks either copied or could not copy.

It was one Nigerian bank you would walk into and feel that you were truly being respected and adequately cared for as a customer, no matter the amount of money you had in your account. Anytime someone complained to me about his or her bank, I praised GTBank and told the person to try them and see the difference.

But those were the days when Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun were MD. The bank was lovely and classy. It was rare to hear bad news involving them.

I was so impressed with GTBank that I had to give the bank some pages in my book 20 Success Secrets of Great Achievers.

But since Segun Agbaje took over, it seemed something happened to the bank.

Whenever I step into the bank, I can feel it that the staff are no longer as relaxed and confident as they used to be. Their smiles look plastic. They don’t look as happy and friendly as they used to be.

Even the Friday dress-down culture that GTBank pioneered in Nigeria was stopped some months ago. Now the staff wear suits everyday.

GTBank has become a bank that is mired in controversy intermittently, a bank that customers complain about regularly in strong terms. Alas, how are the mighty fallen!

In the past 5 years, I have never tried to tell someone to try GTBank when the person complains about his or her bank.

In every organisation, leadership is critical. A leader can affect an organisation positively or negatively.

This is not the Guaranty Trust Bank that I knew. Something negative has happened to the GTB brand essence. Can they get that thing back?



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