Thursday, April 06, 2006

In Defence of Public Sector Banks

This post had to be written!

When the privatisation of banks happened.. the majority were celebrating.. what deliverance! From bank Tellers that do me a favor while giving me my own money..
From clerks who do not believe in talking to mere mortals,
From Bank Managers who thought they were GODS incarnated..
From banks that close that 1, or 2, or whatever..
From banks that make loans a nightmare... .
What Sweet Deliverance We Were Promised By Our Private Sectore Saviours.. Like the US promised freedom to the Iraqis before rolling in..

Lets take a stock of what the private sector banks have brought in:
Scene 1: You are preparing for that all important meeting. The phone rings(YOUR mobile phone)
Sir, would you like to try out our new credit transfer scheme?
The scenario repeats itself.. Citibank, ICICI, ABN Amro... you name it!

Scene 2: You are outside the office, or in a mall, and you are accosted by a nice looking guy, "Sir, would you like to get a free ICICI credit card? Its absolutely free, no charges at all (oops! He forgot to tell you "1 year only!" )
Nicely tempted, you apply. Over to scene 3.

Scene 3: You are anywhere... any time.. and you get this call, "Sir, I am calling from ICICI bank.. this is re. verification of your credit card application.. what is your address sir? What is your annual income? What is your qualification? Do you own any car? " (IS ALL THAT EVEN THERE ON MY APPLICATION?) If you get bold, you ask, " Why are you doing this verification? I am not bound to provide my personal information to anyone. Please stick to the specific details required for verification and before I tell you anything, you tell me the entire verification process and the time involved. " The sound on the other side goes " OK, Thank you sir." And the phone goes dead.

Scene 4: OK, so your wife over-spent by 1000 bucks and that loan cheque bounced. You curse yourself for the cheque bounce charges and prepare the next cheque. One day, you get a call from someone from the bank, informing you that you have "Defaulted" (Gulp!!)
You tell them to send someone to pick up the cheque.
OK sir, I will send someone.
3 days, no one comes. the Cheque is dutifully lying in your pocket.
Day 4, another call " Sir, you have defaulted again. You were not available in your office when our rep called."
(WHAT? ME? NOT IN OFFICE? WASNT HE SUPPOSED TO CALL BEFORE COMING?)Sir, you will now have the make the payment in cash at our nearest office. (BUT I CAN'T MAKE IT THERE IN MY OFFICE HOURS!!) Too bad sir!

Scene 4: You discover a 250 rupees charge in your bank statement. (250 RUPEES?!!) Frantically, you search for the bank's Helpline number. After a maze of menu options andyour TPINs and verifications(TPINS!! THE FINE ART OF DISCOVERING THAT YOU HAVE BECOME A NUMBER FROM A HUMAN BEING. ALSO, THE FASTEST CONVERSION METHOD.) , you our wiare told that this charge exists bcs both you and your wife have registered for the mobile banking. (WAIT A MINUTE, THAT WAS FREE, AND YOU JUST ACTIVATED IT!) Yes, Sir, it was free till March. From this month, it has a fee of Rs. 125 per quarter.
"How can I deactivate it?" Sir, ,you have to submit an application in writing at the branch before the third working day of the quarter to get deactivated for that quarter. No sir, we do not take advance applications. No sir, you cannot do it over the phone, and no sir, you can get it activated online, but not deactivated.

Still wants privatisation, anyone?


Z said...

I tried to change travellers cheques in a bank in India once - won't make that mistake again. They did it in the end, but I really worried them.

I know what's what now and check out the bureaux de change for the best exchange rate.

But they will get our money somehow, whatever we do.

How do we know said...

So true!!! Does that also happen outside India?

Mr. J said...

I still stand by private banks. I'm yet to get my internet banking enabled from SBI.. how pathetic can it get.. 6 months waiting and still waiting.

But well, there ain't nothing like the security of a public bank. My 2 cents, put your money in both. :D