I would like to tell you a story. One not from an angry place or a perfectionist point of view, but a tale that must be told. There was once a bank in Nigeria that was young, trendy, and revolutionary. One of its founders was a pacesetter and everyone wanted to jump on the train. I was too young then and not bankable, so I watched from a distance.
From that place of envy where everyone seemed to be happy at Orange Bank and their lives were better. Sadly, they lost their leader, but there seemed to be hope. Orange Bank acquired TV series, a funky online market, sponsored food festivals, and got a code they sang into wide open ears. I was bankable at this point, but had no reason to switch from my Jewel Bank.
You see Jewel Bank and I had rough beginnings. After the initial hitches were sorted, our relationship took off and they became my jewel in the rough. Younger management adopted a finesse to the bank. Their offices were regaled with elegant architecture and their staff became customer savvy. They got a TV series too and offered discounts in the Starbucks styled coffee shops taking over Lagos. Color me impressed.
Thus, when a client asked that I open an account with Orange Bank, I felt finally I could get the best from two trendy Nigerian Banks. Let’s just say Orange Bank was a complete disaster. From the code that made my account opening a nightmare involving the police to the long queues to do anything and everything in the banking hall. Sigh. Orange Bank affected my emotional state for two whole weeks. I thought it was a branch deficiency, so I hopped on a bus on Wednesday afternoon to a much more impressive branch to resolve a pending issue. Color me unimpressed.
I felt liberated, the moment I withdrew all my money from Orange Bank. The cashier made a last minute attempt to understand what was going when he realized I had left behind a little under 50 cents in my account. It was too late. There is only so much additional pain one can take when already in an ill state. Lagos can be a very stressful place to work and live in and I do not need more drama. Walking in to Jewel Bank with my money felt like a homecoming. The smiles, the ease of transaction, the ability to breathe easy, and perform financial transactions without nearing a nervous breakdown was exhilarating.
Recently, someone asked me on Twitter, why everyone raves about Orange Bank after she had her unfair share of their drama. Past glory, perhaps, I offered. Or maybe Orange Bank is simply uninterested in acquiring new customers and ill equipped to understand the concept of seamless banking in Nigeria. I still remember the old Orange aura that I once craved, but now I know better. One does not simply let go of a jewel when poverty abounds.