Changes needed in the banking sector 

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Dear Editor,

Two recent revelations in the daily newspapers regarding banking , as well as my own personal experiences have prompted me to pen this letter. The first startling discovery was the fact that a local bank has asked a customer to wait two (2) months while they investigate the disappearance of funds from his account. This bank thought of no other alternative but to have this customer wait until they investigate. No consideration as to how he is supposed to continue living on budget without these funds in hand.

Secondly, someone managed to encash fake cheques supposedly from the GRA at a local bank. This is a blow to every customer, regardless of the type of account they possess. Forget international transactions, local transactions are  seriously in jeopardy.

Now on to one of my own personal experiences. I made contact with the New Building Society regarding divulging my account number and balance to facilitate me declaring all of my assets, as I have somehow misplaced my savings book. Via telephone I was informed that the information cannot be divulged as the customer care representative could not be certain that I am the real account holder. She informed that I needed to send an email instead, requesting the information. Email! I objected.


How can you be sure that the account holder is the one sending the email? I asked. Her response was that such was the policy of the bank. This policy definitely needs modernisation. One can never be certain that the person from whom the email is addressed is the one who sent the email. Never! The truth is that my email password is no secret. My husband has sent messages from my email. I only needed to ask. Nevertheless, I complied. Two follow up calls to the bank have also been futile. The promised email response is almost three weeks late.

There is room for changes in policies at various institutions in Guyana. I remember walking into a bank in England on a Saturday morning to conduct a transaction and having only my bank account number on a piece of paper. The teller simply asked me some questions, verified if the answers matched and then did  the transaction. There was no need for her to  say anything. I sensed her compassion and apologised. In my own beloved country I cannot enter a bank on a weekend, much less go without a bank card. Additionally, my sometimes varied signature must match every time. It is heart breaking. Minds with the know how of policy changes are leaving Guyana to the detriment of us all.

Ayanna Isaacs

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