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I just had the most unproductive day. I was ordered to line up at the DBS Marina Bay Financial Center branch. The purpose was to sign a bank guarantee and hand it over to the bank. Experience starts at 11:00. As a matter of full disclosure, DBS is the bank I do business with.

Militarily speaking, the mission was a complete failure. Because the bank was closed, customers were still waiting for service. In all fairness to the bank, they continued to serve customers after their official closing time. Customers continue to sit there well past their last order.

Got this number at 11am.

However, unlike restaurants, this is a bank where you have to sit and wait. No one came to serve refreshments.It was very clear that while the staff on the floor were very overworked, they were also not putting effort into their work. You can count the number of times an individual has had to run to the back room to check things.

Went to see the manager about the issue but she tried to pass it on to another member of staff who was dealing with an angry customer who had been waiting for an hour and a half. When I finally managed to see a member of staff who could answer my question, she rushed into the back room for over 20 minutes.

The closing time (16:00) is the number.

Again, we understand that banking can be a bureaucratic process and can be tricky when it comes to compliance. Should I run into the room and check? If you calculate how long it took the front desk staff to rush back to the back room, you’ll probably find that it takes about 12 hours or more in total.

To be fair to DBS the place was crowded. In a post-lockdown world, it was as if people felt they were releasing the pent-up frustration of not being able to see bankers.

People keep coming even after closing time

About a month ago, I had to visit the OCBC head office on Chulia Street to purchase a bank bill for a client. As a matter of full disclosure, OCBC is the bank that holds my mortgage.

The place could not be called crowded you. So the bank decided to follow suit, and he was staffed by only 3 people at a huge counter designed for 10 people. In other words, there were actually two people, the third being a hard working “supervisor” over the other two’s shoulders.

Large counter Small number of people

Meanwhile, the rest of the customer service staff were probably very busy discussing the results of their lunch. The transaction took nearly 4 hours.

What did you have for lunch today?

As you know, things may not be as efficient as we would like. I understand that sometimes there is give and take. But seriously, why should a customer wait for a company to take the time to do something simple?

There’s no reason for banks to be understaffed (I was told they couldn’t hire locals at a construction site, which I understand, but banks?).

We have a lot of technology to make things so much easier. I’m thinking of a former client who has a product that can analyze bank statements in seconds, and another product that automates entries into the accounting ledger. Sure, it’s nice to have some old-school skills, but why stick to doing things by hand when machines are faster and, dare I say, better .

Processes must be redesigned around the customer. It reminds me of SeaFast Bank (now Bank of America). This bank was so confident in his service that he offered $5 to anyone who had to wait more than five minutes. This was when he laughed at people with cell phones in the early 90’s. Because the internet was just a geek’s pipe dream.

Why can’t a local bank trying to be ‘world-class’ and Singapore trying to be a ‘financial hub’ follow Washington’s banks and try to make the lives of those who receive money better? Is it from?

A version of this article was first published at beautifulincoherent.blogspot.com.

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