Annual Policy Statement for the Year 2010-11 – Customer Service – Pensioners
Out of the 129 paragraphs in the Reserve Bank of India’s Annual Policy 2010-2011, 3 Paragraphs have been devoted to “Customer Service”.
In this era of cost-cutting, and the pressure to keep a eye on the meter, might have led to an increase of customer complaints with the Reserve Bank of India.
As I myself am a banker, it will not be fair to comment on my co-bankers.
Reserve Bank of India, has specifically mentioned about the special needs of the disadvantaged such as
Small borrowers, including farmers.
What are specific needs of the pensioners?
* The need to talk to a human, rather than a automated machine
** The need to attended promptly, as the pensioners might visit the Bank Branch, at the most twice in a month.
**** The necessity to have their Pass Books updated on their first visit only, instead of requesting them to come later for the same.
***** The joy of receiving crisp new notes may be of a smaller denomination.
****** A bit of counselling as to when there might be few customers in the Branch, so that the existing staff can attend to their needs immediately.
******* Access to NetBanking, but with a little more safety measures.
// With the change in the Calculation of the Saving Bank interest, bank customers might find it lucrative to park all their money in the saving bank only, instead of the converting them to fixed deposits.
/// Hence, in case of Net Banking access, debits in a day should not exceed Rs.5000/-
This limit should be there even if the Beneficiary has to be registered first.
**** Additional security features in Net Banking is a different Blog Post, but it would be extreme comfort to the pensioners, if a upper debit limit per day is fixed for Net Banking transactions.
The Customer Service paragraphs are reproduced here.
87. The issue of ‘treating customers fairly’ is assuming critical importance as the experience shows that consumer’s interests are often not accorded full protection and properly attended to. Customer service in the banking industry is increasingly becoming important as banks are privileged institutions and banking is a special public utility service. The Reserve Bank and the Banking Ombudsman’s offices have been receiving several complaints regarding levying of excessive interest rates and charges on certain loans and advances.
88. The Reserve Bank has, over the years, undertaken a number of initiatives for ensuring fair treatment to customers.
This has taken the form of both regulatory fiats (such as reining in of recovery agents, introduction of comprehensive display board, banking facilities for the visually challenged, rationalisation of service charges on collection of outstation cheques and free use of ATMs) as also moral suasion and class action.
The Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers was introduced in July 2006 to set a minimum standard of banking practices for banks to follow for their dealing with individual customers.
89. However, within the domain of necessary freedom to banks to choose the types of services to be offered to the customers and related costs, concerted efforts need to be made to further develop a credible and effective functional system of attending to customer complaints.
In particular, banks’ internal structure needs to be made functionally effective and scaled up to attend to not only basic customer needs, but the special needs of disadvantaged groups such as pensioners and small borrowers, including farmers.
Though there exists a tiered mechanism for customer grievance redressal in the banks, its efficacy in terms of attending to customer complaints is far from satisfactory. Taking into account all these considerations, it is proposed:
- to set up a Committee to look into banking services rendered to retail and small customers, including pensioners. The Committee will also look into the system of grievance redressal mechanism prevalent in banks, its structure and efficacy, and suggest measures for expeditious resolution of complaints. The Committee will also examine the international experiences in this regard.
- to further strengthen the mechanism, for implementing the Reserve Bank’s guidelines on customer service, through on-site and off-site inspections.
- to require banks to devote exclusive time in a Board meeting once every six months to review and deliberate on customer service.