Thursday, May 26, 2011

NBK Chops Off its Green Thumb

Not really, but hark, hark and lend me your ears (or eyes) for a second.

Recently, NBK decided to charge 10KD per annum for their SMS-Banking Notification Service. It is an inconsequential amount, a mere 27fils per day for an entire year, i.e. one local msg a day from any local service provider in Kuwait . 

However, never look at things from such a micro-scale. How many customers does NBK have? Lets put it at a modest 500,000 in Kuwait (out of a population of 3 million), so we have:

500,000 X 10 = KD5,000,000

For a service that had been free for as long as I can remember, or atleast ever since I started my professional career (which was 4 years ago).

At first it was a txt msg for every transaction, then they tweaked it and made it a txt msg for every transaction above KD10.

I ventured to the ATM today (don't carry much liquid cash on me, plastic all the way), I came across a peculiar sighting that was the premise for this here post.

There was a man standing there before me, luckily he had just finished and was walking away, however the minute he turned his back his receipt was printed out. He never saw it. I tried to inform him but it seemed trivial, so I merely pocketed it to throw it away later (as there was no bin near the ATM machine inside Zain HQ – a big no no as you can see receipts littered on the floor from people without a green thumb such as myself).

Anyhoo, I digress. Soon as I was done with my transaction, I also requested a printed receipt, seeing as how I no longer opted to receive the SMS-banking notifications on a matter of principle (charging for a once free service).

During the walk back to my office, it dawned on me, during those 4 years, I had never once checked 'yes' when the ATM machine asked if I wanted a receipt, knowing full well that I would receive a txt msg a while shortly, and that I was doing my part to preserve trees by not printing a piece of paper I would later throw away.

Think about it, most corporate emails being sent around nowadays have a watermark embedded at the bottom saying please save trees and do not print this email unless absolutely necessary, right?

Even my company has the following embedded in all outgoing emails:

We are committed for safer running ships and cleaner environment.
P  Save a Tree, Please Be Responsible towards the environment. Print this e-mail only if you have to.

By charging 10KD for this service per year, NBK will now have to pay more to get those rolls of paper used inside ATMs, as well as the ink to print on the papers, to facilitate my need for a receipt. The previous method saved them from this hassle.

I think it is a safe bet to assume that everyone who has a bank account, automatically has a mobile phone.

I think if some analyst were to properly crunch the numbers, they would find that their txt service saved them more in terms of paper and ink than the revenue they will generate now that the service is not free (the KD5mil from before).

I thought about it, and to properly compare both methods, you will need to check the number of times clients visit ATMs, length of paper printed, total length of paper in roll to calculate how many receipts can be printed per roll, and how often these rolls are replaced, plus cost of roll ofcourse.

There are two ways to get a profit; you either earn a revenue (new service charge) or save on expensing a cost.

For a bank that boasts to be the best bank in the Middle East, this is not a very sound PR strategy, as the current trend in all corporations is to “Go Green”.

Shame on NBK for wasting trees; as both a client and a shareholder, I am most appalled at your antics to earn a quick buck at the expense of the environment.

legal disclaimer: this post represents the authors own opinion, it does not in any way, shape or form demean or belittle the services provided by the aforementioned company to its clientele. (who knows what with the recent Benihana fiasco!)

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