I’ve been a customer with Standard Chartered Bank for 2 years now, and there hasn’t been much complaints from my end. But our recent encounter with the bank hasn’t been a satisfactory one. Its either a lack of service standard by the staff (a Relationship Manager, Preferred Banking) who served us at Marine Parade branch that day or a lack of support at the backend of the bank. After 3 weeks, we have yet received what we were supposed to 7 working days from the opening of account.

Here’s our experience; anyone else shared the same experience before? Hope not.

It was on Sunday, 14 August 2011, when we visited the Marine Parade Central Standard Chartered Bank. Our intention was to open an account for savings with cheque book service and look at potential investment opportunities. After approximately 15 minutes of waiting, staff returned from their break and we were served by this young lady. After explaining our needs, she recommended us to take up a long term endowment plan (with Prudential) where we were eligible for a special short-term Time Deposits promotion where we get high interests return for a 3-month period. After calculating and discussions, we took up her proposal and signed up for the endowment plan, started two Time Deposits accounts and started an XtraSaver account.

As it was a Sunday, the bank were not able to deposit the cheque and all transactions had to wait till the next working day, which was the NEXT day. We asked when the ATM/Debit card, cheque book, Internet banking details and other documents will reach us, we were told the ATM/Debit card will be sent to us the NEXT working day and the rest of the documents and stuff will come in 7 working days. After all is signed and done, we left.

The first thing that arrived in our mailbox was the cheque book, followed by the bank transaction slip for our cheque deposit. A week passed and that were all we received. Then another week passed, still nothing was sent. We called the Relationship Manager who served us (whom also upgraded us to Preferred Banking status on 14 August 2011), she said she will check and the other documents should be on the way. After couple of days, still nothing received from Standard Chartered Bank. So I tweeted @stanchartbreeze hoping someone can help look into the matter. Private messages were exchanged and a phone call was made to clarify the situation. We were told they will send out the outstanding items the next working day, which was the day after Hari Raya. So by now, we should have received our ATM/Debit card, Pin for the card, Internet Banking information and documents for our endowment plan right? Sadly, only the card was received and it arrived on Friday! Without the pin number, the card is technically useless, except for purchasing it as a debit card; not what we needed.

From a verbal assurance that the card will reach us the NEXT working day, to a delay of more than 14 working days! This is NOT the kind of service standard we’re expecting from a bank, and for a preferred banking customer some more! Throughout this period of time, the only way we can access the money was to go to the branch and do our withdrawal over the counter. Much time would have been saved if the necessary stuff came in time, as mentioned by the Relationship Manager.

Several times we wanted to go straight to the branch to request for a card and the IB token, but was afraid the bank had already mailed out to us. So we waited. When we called the bank and when they called us after the tweet, neither of them suggested for us to have our problems solved at the branch. Wait was what we did.

If we had opened the account on a weekday, would all this have happened? If not, then is it a failure on the bank’s side to have weekend banking hours yet not able to deliver the standard that should have had for weekday banking? Is this considered a weekend banking fail?

We were looking forward to using the other banking services and products by Standard Chartered Bank before this happened, now we are seriously considering otherwise. If such simple transactional standards cannot be met, how can we trust that a long term property loan or even a CDA with Standard Chartered Bank is what we should take up? Hope something can be done about the bank’s service standard and SOPs. No point having a good range of products/services, great internet/mobile banking tools and nice website, but service standard isn’t satisfactory.

Let’s see how long more we’ve got to wait for the card pin, IB details and other documents pending to reach us. Haiz…

Updated on 6 September 2011
Representative from SCB called to provide assistance and someone from the Marine Parade branch contacted us too. Before their call, we had already went to the branch to reset the card pin and that gave us access to the Internet banking.

Thanks to the two representatives for contacting us to check if things are fine, however the point is, why such a long delay in the first place? No answer was given.

Come to our own understanding that firstly, the ATM card wasn’t issued on the day of account opening (a Sunday) was because we banked in a cheque instead of cash. If we had known this at that point of time (representative assisting us didn’t tell us this option), we could have made a deposit in cash in order to have things processed on the spot and prevented all these from happening.

We’ve got most of the stuff settled, and the last thing pending is the documents for the endowment plan. Receipt sent to us from Prudential but not the policy documents. Guess that’ll take more time.