Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) came into existence and took the Nigerian banking industry to a new height. They offered exceptional products, excellence customer services and lovely buildings cum ambience for customers to have lovely experience performing various financial and non-financial transactions anytime they visit their branch office. GTB was one of the first banks that took Internet banking to the next level and other banks followed suit. So it is right for me to say that GTB is a trendsetter in Nigerian banking industry.
These achievements were all recorded under late Tayo Aderinokun, the former MD who takes all the credit for bringing dynamism and success to the bank and rewarded with a significant increase in the number of customers banking with the bank. In fact, late Mr Tayo brought stability to the bank. May his soul continue to rest in peace.
But, just like Steve Job of Apple, Tayo death brought an abrupt stop to the innovation GTB was spearheading in the banking sector. Today, GTB is credited as a top Nigerian bank with a significant number of unsatisfied customers.
Before proceeding, it is imperative to establish that Banks world over offers one function: FINANCIAL INTERMEDIATION –– Taking money from the surplus sector to lend to deficit sector. This remains the core function of any bank globally. Other duties of the bank are purely service function, a critical reason banking industry is often referred to as a service industry and as a matter of principal is expected to take customer satisfaction very seriously.
Banks globally, be it HSBC, Barclays or Lloyds triumph among other competitors by selling to their customers’ exceptional customer service relationship and management. This service is very vital to banks as those services are what actually make bank “A” different from bank “B”.
However, this exceptional customer service has become a luxury for GTB as time and time again; the bank has failed its customers. Most complain about high charges incurred whenever ATM transaction is performed. Even in cases where ATM couldn’t pay, which automatically reverses in other banks, GTB won’t refund. Most complaints are GTB customers in England who withdrew pounds sterling. One particular customer lamented how it took GTB GTB 3 months to pay back, and upon receiving their money, GTB still took service charge for a service that wasn’t executed. These customers complaints are a small fish in the ocean compared to the issue with Innoson Motors, the number one car manufacturer in Nigeria.
For some who are not privy to the issues, I will present a brief background below:
During President Obasanjo regime, Innoson imported some motorcycle and agricultural machines, which were seized by the Customs despite the company meeting the requirements. Customs subsequently auctioned the goods worth billions of naira. Senator Iyabo “allegedly” bought the products at ridiculously low prices. Innoson sued Customs, and the court ordered Customs to pay Innoson over N2 billion.
GTB as the banker to customs appealed the judgement, claiming that Customs had no money, even though evidence showed that Customs had over 10 billion in their account with GTB. The Appeal Court upheld the High Court judgment. GTB went to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Innoson had earlier borrowed some money from GTB for a different business transaction. Innoson noticed that some charges were being slammed on the account and told its auditors to audit the account. The audit found out that GTBank had charged excess of N700 million from the company’s main account. As a result, Innoson sued GTB, and the court ruled in favour of Innoson, asking GTBank to pay Innoson the sum of N560 million with some CBN-sanctioned interest on it, which made the penalty continue to mount against GTB. GTB appealed again. The judgment was upheld again. GTB went to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile last year (2014), GTB got an ex parte motion to freeze all Innoson accounts in all banks in Nigeria. This lasted for nine months until a court quashed the case out in 2015. Innoson then slammed N30 billion suit on GTBank for damages it suffered when his company account was suspended.
Currently, Innoson has N10 billion judgment against GTB with interest escalating on a daily basis. Plus N30 billion case still pending at Supreme Court. If Supreme Court rules in favor of Innoson, GTB may go under after paying that considerable sum.
They are now desperately looking for how to undermine the services of our fair judicial system. They are ready to pay any judge who will upturn the previous decision of the judiciary. But that met a brick wall as no Judge want to involve in any irresponsible act of killing Innoson Business with the obnoxious court judgment.
Having lost their case, GTB resorted to creating a bad impression about Innoson being a bad customer that took a loan and refused to pay, which is far from the truth from all the reports including the judgments by the judges.
Are Nigerian youths who mostly bank with GTB going to fold their arms and watch some cowboys who feel they are untouchables kill INNOSON Motors that has attracted so much business in Nigeria employing the youths majorly? It was the success Innoson motors enjoyed in car manufacturing that attracted other car manufacturers to come to Nigeria. Today, we can boast of Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen and the imminent arrival of TATA makers of Jaguar Range Rover.
Could it be that the books of GTB is cooked placing them in the verge of insolvency if they honor court order?
CBN searchlight must be on GTB to ascertain the solvency of the bank. More so, the bank already failed in exhibiting professional corporate governance, a similar ground former CBN governor Sanusi (Now Emir of Kano) cited when he retired six bank MDs in 2009.
GTB bank is a time bomb waiting to explode. Nigeria cannot afford another big bank collapse. They should obey court order and prove to Nigerians that they are still one of the big banks. What is N10 billion to a bank who declared profit before tax of N116.385 bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2014?
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