The social media has gone agog with the shocking demise of the indisputable founder of MMM pyramid scheme, Sergei Mavrodi.
Sergei reportedly died at the age of 62. Leaving behind an army of disenchanted crowdfunding bliss seekers.
Millions of Nigerians were still expecting their payout after earning the right to “Get Help”. Sadly, whatever remained as a glimpse of hope has now been permanently dashed with the confirmed death of the erstwhile financial kingpin.
Indeed, MMM drama has come and gone in Nigeria leaving behind shattered hearts. But are there positive lessons to learn from Nigeria’s massive embrace of the scheme?
In this write-up, I will highlight some of the key lessons Nigerian bank customers must have learned from their banks during the regime of MMM.
- Banks that can transfer funds fast
Funds transfer from one account to another was the backbone of the MMM scheme. The sender is the one “Providing Help” while the beneficiary was known as the one “Getting Help”. These money transfers were time locked and any delay could lead to permanent loss of funds for the defaulting party. It was therefore not surprising why banks witnessed unprecedented mass footfalls at their transaction counters. The efficiency and capacity of Nigerian banks to effect funds transfers with speed and accuracy was exposed. Several bank branches and staff were found wanting. And the customers at this point suffered for it.
Thousands of MMM participants often lamented how it took many days for the receivers to get funds transferred to them. And before the money finally gets to the receiver, the deposit slips that the senders uploaded may have been confirmed as fake. Those who invested in the scheme will definitely understand the sad implication.
- Banks that were more reliable
The rush that came with MMM operations also revealed to Nigerian bank customers the banks that had reliable service infrastructures. One of the major setbacks then was the epileptic network condition of most banks. The excuse of network downtime was the order of the day then. And it was really frustrating. It got so bad, that even digital banking solutions were packing up.
But in the midst of all these, there were still some banks that were up and running at all times. They are the ones that had robust and reliable network frameworks. And I know Nigerian bank customers can easily point out those banks.
- Banks that can manage crowd better
One striking attribute about MMM and banks in Nigeria was the crowding of banking halls. It was like a pandemonium in most bank branches. The strategy and effectiveness of banks to manage crowd was fully tested. Most banks in Nigerian failed in floor management. They left things to get out of their control as it clearly appeared that they had no workable strategy to serve the surging crowd.
- That banks never really cared
The use of bank accounts as a channel of payment publicly under the pyramid scheme actually gave a moral certification to its activities. Most Nigerians felt that since banks knew and processed the transactions, then it must be a genuine business. Otherwise, their banks would have declined and advised them against the scheme.
But banks never really cared. For them, it was all about the business and their bottom line. Banks grossed in a lot of money from transfer service fees and new account signups.
I am sure that most Nigerian bank customers can relate with the above lessons. You can agree with me that there are still positives to draw from the invalid financial scheme christened- MMM, in Nigeria.
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