I needed to deposit a cheque and some coins that Mela has collected into my bank account so I went off to the Nedbank branch in Somerset Mall this morning. After passing through the outer area and negotiating the security doors I reached the inner sanctum where the money is, only to find a long queue. I wasn’t in a rush so I filled in a deposit slip and joined the queue. It didn’t move for the first 5 minutes or so, as the customers at the counter obviously had many transactions to complete. Other customers in the queue started to get restless and berated the staff on duty, demanding to know where the other two tellers were; only two of the four counters were manned. The answer was that as it was Saturday they had the day off.
Having worked for Nedbank I know that the policy for branch staff is that they work every second Saturday so effectively the branch runs at half-strength on Saturday mornings. I presume that the same is true for other banks but it makes absolutely no sense from the customer’s point of view. Most of us work Monday to Friday and if there is not a bank branch very close to where we work it is a major undertaking that can consume an entire lunch time, just to pop in to the branch to do something. I can be flexible with my hours so could go in late or leave a bit early to do my banking but as banking hours are only 09:15 to 15:30 this doesn’t work for me either. So that leaves Saturday mornings when banks are only open for four hours in any case. So everyone that works during the week comes to do their banking on Saturday, making it the busiest banking day and to have banks running on fewer staff on their busiest days makes no sense. They need to look at an alternative way of giving their staff time off to rest and be with their families.