Brian Salter's Blogs:

Emirates Bank - A Case of Incompetence, Stupidity or What?


I used to think that Emirates Bank was OK. It gave a fair service and in general was quite reliable when it came to the services it offered. But things have changed recently – at least if the Ibn Battuta branch is anything to go by.

Not once, not twice, but three times in the past two months I have tried paying in a cheque to one of their newfangled electronic automatic pay-in machines – each at a different branch – and each time, having religiously followed the instructions given, I have ended up with the machine swallowing the cheque and then had to run around for about half an hour afterwards trying to get some bored bank official to try and put matters right … which normally took up to three days to do.

This morning I had another cheque to pay in and so decided I would not use one of their auto machines, but instead would use a teller. I went to the Ibn Battuta branch and had to go all the way to the far end of the bank to get a pay-in form which I duly filled in. But now I had to go all the way back to the entrance to get a queuing ticket before going all the way again to the far end to wait for a teller.

They used to have a collection of Filipino and Indian tellers who were pleasant, competent and gave one confidence in their service. Alas no more. Emiratis have taken over and despite the fact there were four people on duty, three of them (the Emiratis) were giggling and gossiping among themselves (at one stage even taking a look at the ID card of an Indian customer and falling about laughing at his picture – unforgivable IMHO) while the fourth teller – an Indian woman – carried on diligently. So I was not surprised that it took ten minutes of waiting to pay in my cheque.

But what was this? I was told you can no longer pay in a cheque at the teller counter, but that you have to use a machine that stamps a time code onto your paying in slip and then post it into a box. One of the giggling Emiratis took me over to show me (back to the front of the bank once again). She had thoughtfully stapled the cheque to the paying in slip.

See how easy it is, she told me condescendingly.
Excellent, said I; but where do I get a stapler to attach the cheque to the slip?
You ask a teller. They will be happy to help.
So I have to queue up for a teller to ask if they will staple the cheque to the paying in slip so I can then post it in your post box?
Yes…. Or you can use one of the envelopes provided.
But there are no envelopes provided.
In that case you can ask a teller for one.

I left the bank wondering if this is a case of stupidity, incompetence or simply that the bank is having fun at the expense of its customers. Given the behaviour of the Emirati tellers earlier on, I suspect the latter. That, together with a touch of stupidity and incompetence thrown in just to make sure the customer is inconvenienced to the max.

Geez! What a bank! Or for that matter… What a country! How come anyone stays in business over here?