For Better or For Worse July 11, 2006Posted by Teller in Banking.
Earlier today I came across a blog by a Dr. Lost. After scanning his posts I saw that he perceived himself as a controversial writer. The post that caught my eye, naturally, was in reference to NBK and Gulf Bank, two of the leading local banks.
To summarize, he and an acquaintance had both gone to their banks in order to get a Salary Certificate paper. At Gulf Bank he claims his friend’s paperwork took 25 minutes to be completed. When he went to his bank, NBK, the same paperwork took 4 minutes. On this basis he writes, “so WHY WHY WHY is it that NBK is soo much better than Gulf bank? i mean, better customer service, faster service, in general i feel better services r available at NBK .. do u guys agree?” I don’t imagine he made those statements based on that singular experience but it is the only one he mentioned.
There is a lot of competiveness between banks here in Kuwait. At the same time, it’s not the extreme brand of rivalry you often find existing between schools and universities at sporting events. Most people have several family members working at different banks. That effectively nips any extreme rivalries in the bud.
Reflecting on the post I realized that there are many other elements that one must allow for before the experiences of Dr. Lost and his friend could be compared. Firstly, the branch and time of day affect the length of time spent in the bank. Not all branches are busy. Location affects how crowded a branch is and so does the hour you choose to go. Secondly, the delay of a transaction could be due to the number of customers ahead of you waiting to be assisted. And most importantly, the person helping you can have a profound impact on your waiting time. A new nervous trainee will definitely take longer than seasoned staff. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. A transaction that I could finish in two minutes, another could take another fifteen minutes. I’ve been to branches in other banks and had to wait for half an hour because of untrained or incompetant people.
My personal opinion if you compare the two, NBK will end up the winner even if you judge it solely on the vast amount of capital it has. Gulf Bank constantly challenges itself and is trying to grow as quickly as possible to compete with NBK. It’s doing a good job but has been holding second place for years now. Neither of these banks offer anything out of the ordinary. They will keep their eyes on the new foreign banks entering the market. These are the banks they should compete against instead of each other because these foreign banks are superior to both NBK and Gulf Bank and will offer their clients investment opportunities neither bank has.