Recently, I was exploring the availability of lockers close to my place of residence in Mumbai. What I noticed, across banks (I have visited mostly private sector banks, as public sector branches are old with absolutely no locker availability), was that, if one wants to have a locker in a private bank, there is no option but to purchase a ULIP (unit-linked insurance product) which is high-cost, illiquid and is mostly a wealth destroyer (minimum commitment of Rs1 lakh-Rs1.5 lakh per year for five to six years).
All banks tell you that there is a waiting list of 100+ customers but they can push your name and make the allotment immediately, if you make the investment that they are proposing (mostly ULIPs; one bank even proposed portfolio management services).
When I insisted on putting my name on the waiting list as mandated by RBI (Reserve Bank of India), none of the banks was willing to give in writing my waiting list number. The rot is so deep and widespread that, when I spoke to a few of my friends in the banking industry, they mentioned that they also cannot do much. For a majority of bank branches, lockers are a tool to achieve their fee-based income targets.
I wish, with RBI allowing NBFCs (non-banking finance companies) to provide locker services, this issue may be taken care of, to some extent. But it will happen only over a period. In fact, PNB (Punjab National Bank), despite being a PSU (public sector undertaking), allows the availability to be checked online on the following link: https://www.pnbindia.in/En/ui/LockerAvailability.aspx
I hope, like the home loan pre-payment penalty, RBI makes it mandatory for all banks to display the availability in a transparent manner. If it has not been covered in the recent past, Moneylife
can cover this topic and get various banks to respond on it.
Shailendra Gavali, by email
Take the Team with him!
This is with regard to “Will the RBI Governor’s Letter Make a Difference?” by Sucheta Dalal. Purely from the angle of ethics in administration and management, it would have been prudent for the governor to retain his communication to the staff as an internal one and not a matter of public debate.
DN Ghosh, a doyen among bankers, next in stature to RK Talwar, knows pretty well that each central bank in the world has its internal learning processes and failings. Dr Raghuram Rajan would have done well to hold a series of roundtables among his staff, at different tiers, and to develop an iterative process to bring home to them the need to widen and deepen their knowledge and change attitudes. There are tools for continuous monitoring and, as an IIM (A) alumnus of international repute, he should be aware of these and adopt them. An internationally reputed icon among central bank governors and contemporary economists should have engineered the processes internally far better as he has to take the team with him.
B Yerram Raju, online comment
A Real Coup!
This is just a quick note to share how much I appreciate the insightful articles of R Balakrishnan. His article alone is worth the price of each issue and more; the rest is cream. Most of his articles are worth collecting for future reference. You may wish to consider publishing his most insightful articles into a book form. And, if you do that, do not forget to send me an autographed copy!
You could also persuade him to write by analysing one company in detail, including the financial aspects, which will benefit readers with basic finance knowledge. We would also be keen to know what type of companies feature in his personal portfolio and the reasons thereof. That would be a real coup! This does not mean that the reader should blindly follow Mr Balakrishnan. But, it will give the reader an insight into his approach and philosophy. In fact, even you could do that. Please consider the request.
Mahesh Krishnan, by email
Claim after discharge from hospital!
This is with regard to “IRDAI Wants Wider Cashless Network” by Raj Pradhan. Cashless is the primary reason for exorbitant medical expenses at hospitals. If you go with cashless, you need to disclose the names of the insurer and the TPA (third-party administrator). Secondly, such a disclosure could also mean that, as a patient, the insured and insurer can be defrauded by way of increased treatment costs, excess billing and so on. It would be better not to have cashless and not disclose at time of admission about having medical insurance. In any event, all bills are provided by the hospital and can be filed with the insurance company with the claim after discharge.
Rajan R Vaswani, by email
Do we Need to Wait?
This is with regard to “Are You Ready for Netflix?” by Yogesh Sapkale. I am an avid reader of Moneylife. I was one of the first to download the Netflix app. Within the first movie, the whole month’s six gigabytes (6GB) got over! After that, using even the highest speed wifi connection, none of the popular movies gets downloaded. I cancelled my connection within 48 hours. Unless the rates of Internet come down and fast Internet becomes a norm, we need to wait.
Dr Hari Venkatramani, by email
Citizens are Aware and Awakened Today!
This is with regard to “PK’s Romp through India’s Financial Sector” by Sucheta Dalal. Perfect analysis. We, taxpayers and citizens of this country, pay through our nose for the misdeeds of our leaders (and this includes leaders of all clans and backgrounds—be it Congress or BJP; BJP is no better than Congress in managing the economy of the country). All PSUs (public sector undertakings) including all PSBs (public sector banks) go on giving loans to all non-creditworthy borrowers that turn into NPAs (non-performing assets) eventually. No wonder, Morgan Stanley has given a price target of Rs115 for SBI’s (State Bank of India’s) share. The government has to reckon that the days of its ruthless game-playing have to stop someday. Citizens are aware and awakened today.
Why can’t SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) take action against a listed company? Only because, at the end of the day, the SEBI chief is a government appointee and has to fall in line with government’s diktats. SEBI is a small regulator in terms of power and authorities.
Look at even RBI. It is the central bank of the country but the RBI governor is not spared; he is harassed and coerced to obey the diktats of government. One has to only notice the cajoling and nudging by all sorts of government functionaries, including finance secretaries/NITI Aayog chairman, etc, telling the RBI governor to reduce bank rates. If India has to progress, such interference and treating the regulators as their fiefs has to stop. Only then will the regulators work towards better economic development and a transparent policy regime.
Kamal Garg, online comment