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For Better or For Worse July 11, 2006

Posted 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.



1. extinct dodo - July 11, 2006

i think NBK’s advertising strategy is a big part of why so many people opt to open accounts there. You cant watch their ads, in ramadan especially, without feeling a psychologically inclined need to become their client. Especially with the number of times they repeat an ad within the hour, people cant help but have their psyche affected, as if the ad was implementing some sort of hypnosis trick. Wouldnt you say?

Teller replies: The prospect of NBK using subliminal advertising on the masses is intriguing. Maybe an investigation is in order 😉 Even with all the people opening accounts there do you view it as the superior bank or not? I know I do but I base it on my own experiences there.

2. Sty - July 11, 2006

Actually thats Kind off true, whenever I visit NBK to finish my work (or my parents work :P) I find it quicker than going around to GBK and finishing off the rest of it.

1) NBK is faster, even when working with counter tellers
2) GBK are slower, even their older staff (Managers and assistant Managers)
3) GBK customer sevice is really dry (as in ilnas 7adhoum nashfeen oo nafseya)
4) NBK like to joke around and make jokes when the transaction is in process, really its a very nice touch especially when you have a lot of things on your mind.

3. ZinZinQ8 - July 12, 2006

Regarding the new foreing banks my impression was that they wouldn’t be providing retail banking services but instead they would be targeting institutions or high net worth individuals and performing services such as portfolio managements and corportate finance. Am I mistaken?

Teller replies, You’re absolutely correct ZinZinQ8. I still believe local banks will have to improve their operational activities to match those of the foreign entrants. Competition is no longer local. It has always been international and the message has to hit home.  

4. extinct dodo - July 12, 2006

I wouldn’t know if NBK was superior, since i haven’t really had the opportunity to experience any banks besides NBK and BKME. I closed my account at BKME because the number of branches spread across Kuwait was minimal, which I found extremely inconvenient, and they also subtracted money from my account on a monthly bases, which is absurd, since it was just a student account.

So based on those experiences, I would have to admit that NBK is superior when compared to BKME, with regards to students accounts.

5. For Better or For Worse | Job Search and Job Opportunities - November 7, 2012

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