Keeping up with your own Innovation

I love FNB, I have banked with them for about the age of 7, when I got my first BOB card.  It has almost always been a pleasure dealing with them, and over the years they have done some amazing things.  Michael Jordaan has driven the bank to some inspiring innovations.

The online banking is the best, they were the first to release smart phone apps, and they have some great deals on smart phones to help drive the adoption. All very cleaver strategies to drive the ‘most innovative’ bank image and help move customer to more profitable channels.

Unfortunately when you are so driven by innovation, sometimes your feet runs to fast and your body can’t keep up.  Today I had the rude awakening that this happens even at my beloved FNB.  I have been driven to the point of surrender, something I expect from oversized corporates not my beloved FNB.

I never thought my beloved FNB would frustrate me to the point of surrender

I never thought my beloved FNB would frustrate me to the point of surrender

Earlier this week I opened the US bank account. When I tried loading my Canadian account as a beneficiary for FOREX payment on FNB’s online banking last year, I struggled a bit.  So with no time to waste to make a payment time, I immediately email all the docs to my banker and asked for FOREX to load the beneficiary.

That was all done in half a day, so onwards to making my first payment. Nice, this is going to be easy, exactly what I expect from my FNB.  I logged on the online banking added a payment, entered my OTP, oops. Error Message, I need to add the beneficiary bank code. That’s weird; they had all that when they added it.  I try to edit the beneficiary, but no luck.  So I capture the screen and send it to the bank.

A day later I get an email, referring to the change I need to make to another beneficiary, completely unrelated. In this email, they mention I can just call them and they will help me solve it over the telephone. Since it is now Friday afternoon 1400 in SA (0700 in Chicago) I decide it is better to call now, otherwise this will only be solved next week.

I call the FOREX number, speak to about 4 people and spend 30 min on the phone, but I am no closer to getting it resolved. The current FOREX consultant say she needs to refer it to somebody else, I explain that I would prefer to speak to somebody since I need this resolved today, or rather next 2 hours before FOREX closes for the weekend.  I am asked to hold the line, but then the call is either dropped or terminated from their side.

Highly frustrated at this stage I call the FNB private client service suite; they quickly suggest that they set up a conference call with a ‘manager’ at FOREX.  The call is transferred between two FOREX people and I explain the whole ordeal again, they ask me to hold, but then I am transferred to an automated system.  So I called he Service Suite again, since I did not write down the number of the manager I spoke to before, I speak to another one.  He asks me to hold on while he speaks to FOREX, after just checking that I am still on the line, he returns after 20 min.

He reports the FOREX has some system issue and suggest that they just make to payment for me so long and then fix the beneficiary later.  Disillusioned and under pressure to get money transferred I agree, against my better judgment.  Now, it is after 1600 on a Friday in SA, just got an email from my personal banker that nobody is answering the phone at FOREX.  This is wrong.

Adding the ability to do FOREX payments online is a great innovation from FNB.  But if the FOREX department can’t load beneficiaries correctly or help clients make payments, then something is clearly wrong.

Is this what happens if you can’t keep up with your own innovation? I am not changing banks, I love FNB.  I want my bank to do better, try harder and fix the problem.