Loss of Privacy
I had requested my accounts statement from Axis Bank to be emailed to me. I was horrified to find that the email was sent to an incorrect email id. I subsequently, checked the ‘My Profiles’ page and was surprised to see that there is no email id registered with them. 
 
What is even more surprising is that I have recently received emails from the official email id of the relationship manager at Axis Bank. Since the mail was sent to me from his official email id, it is presumed that as he represents Axis Bank, the Bank knows my correct email id for banking purposes and there can be no excuse for not having the correct email id (this was being given as the reason by Axis Bank’s phone banking team). 
 
My correct email id is [email protected] The incorrect email id that the email was sent to was [email protected] The difference is in the ‘r’ between sameer and ranade in the email id. The problem, as per the Bank, is that the system does not integrate the Bank’s branches with telebanking.
 
Subsequently, I called up Axis Bank telebanking about this. To my surprise, the person at the Bank suddenly developed a loss of connectivity and could not hear me. I called up again and spoke to the supervisor, who had absolutely no problems in the entire conversation. But the supervisor had a problem acknowledging the fact there is a lapse on the part of Axis Bank.
 
I called up the Ombudsman and the person appeared to simply assign very low importance to the issue. Instead, the person asked me what I would like the Ombudsman to do and asked me to get in touch with the Bank. Only if the Bank did not respond, I was asked to get back to the Ombudsman in a month’s time.
 
I emailed Axis Bank and was told that they would respond in a couple of days. 
 
In the mean time, the relationship manager reverted to me and accepted that the error was at the Bank’s end at the time of filling up the details. 
 
After 12 days, I received a call from the Bank and was told that my email id was updated. When asked about the action on the more serious issue, they had no idea and I was told they would get back in a couple of days.
 
I recently received a call from the relationship manager and was told that no account statement was emailed from the system to any email since their internal system checks have only authorised sending statements by post. So, in effect, even if my email id was correct, I would have been trying like a fool to repeatedly ask for a statement and the system would keep prompting me that the mail has been sent to whatever the registered email id would have been.
Sameer Ranade, by email
 
Mr Ranade has raised an important issue which Moneylife is pursuing at various levels. We have also forwarded Mr Ranade’s complaint to Axis Bank which has told us that it is in touch with him. — Editor
 
Future of LIC & its Agents 
Thank you Moneylife; your team is doing a good job in raising issues that affect the general investor in India. The write-ups make complete sense and I partially agree with the fact that LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) agents do mis-selling at the time of plan closures. However, I am also an agent for more than two decades. I wish to explain why LIC agents suddenly become aggressive. If you carefully look at LIC’s agency force, you will notice that most of the agents are pure salesmen. A majority of them are undergraduates or graduates, at the most. They do not understand much about what is going on in the financial market and how it will affect their business.
 
Since 2005 or 2006, the top management of LIC has become unethically aggressive. Every top-ranking official wants to show growth in the number of policies and premium, in order to please his superiors. 
 
As an LIC agent, I have attended many agents’ meetings where the branch managers, marketing managers and even senior divisional managers misguide the agency force into hard-selling or unethical selling at the time of plan closures. We have witnessed it during the ULIP euphoria. Top-ranking managers would visit branches like financial gurus confidently forecasting that the Sensex will attain 50,000 points. They would claim that LIC, being a dominant player in the stock market, the NAVs of its ULIP plans will zoom beyond anyone’s expectations. They used to distribute pamphlets, brochures and colourful charts to prove their point. Fake news of agents mobilising crores of rupees in remote places in India was deliberately spread, in order to motivate other agents to sell ULIP plans. Special competitions were launched with attractive prizes to lure agents into selling ULIPs. Many agents succumbed to false propaganda and, today, they have lost their credibility in the market as the NAVs of all ULIPs are faring badly.
 
Now, we are facing the second phase of this madness. Senior managers are quoting the chairman declaring that the entire Corporation will retire on 30th September and will begin afresh on 1st October. They are tweaking the quote to explain to agents that from 1st October, LIC policies will become unattractive, as it will be loaded with service tax which a customer will not be in a mood to pay. Secondly, they are scaring the agents saying that popular plans will be withdrawn and commissions will be slashed drastically. In such a scenario, how do you expect the otherwise uninformed or misinformed agency janata to react? They will slog as if these are their last few days on the planet earth. Competitions are being floated with cash prizes up to even Rs50,000 on single-premium policies. Earlier, only agents and development officers were paid incentives. But, since 2006, even branch managers and marketing managers are given incentives in the form of expensive gifts like LED TVs, holiday trips, smart phones, laptops, gift coupons, home appliances, etc. These managers try to make the most of it, by using unethical sales practices and misguiding agents and policyholders, as their posting in a particular office is for a maximum period of three years, after which they are transferred to some other place. This is precisely what happened during the ULIP euphoria. The managers who promised us the moon are nowhere in sight today. They just grabbed all the gifts and vanished to some other city. It is we, the agents, who are bearing the brunt of policyholders’ wrath. LIC is not what it used to be up to the 1990s. Earlier, the top bosses were visionaries, who carefully crafted LIC’s growth story. With just a Rs5-crore grant from the central government in 1956, they carefully built a multi-lakh crore financial giant with a formidable sales force of about a million agents. But, today, the picture is exactly the opposite. Scams and corruption have become common. If LIC is not brought back on track soon, it may be forced to go the UTI way. If reputed teams like Moneylife can keep a check on financial institutions, I am sure it will do a lot of good for the common man.
Samira Patel, by email
 
Advice to Investors

This is with regard to “Grossly Underperforming Star Performers” by Jason Monteiro. What is your advice to investors who are holding HDFC Top 200 or HDFC Top Equity schemes? These two schemes were also featured in equity schemes for ‘any season’ in the

18 October 2012 issue of Moneylife.

Mohana Ganesh

 

Very informative

This is with regard to “What causes obesity and bulimia?” by Prof Dr Hegde. I find all your articles very informative. They give a whole new perspective on medicine and health. They are like fresh air in the midst of manipulative, harmful, loaded information coming from the media. Please keep writing.

Jagbir Singh

 

No Clue?

This is with regard to “NSEL fallout: ICAI begins probing Financial Technologies, NSEL issues.” Delightful! The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India still has no clue about what is to be done. Seems to be infested with morons at all ends.

R Balakrishnan

 

Not Charitable Institutions!

This is with regard to “RBI says no zero percent interest scheme for buying consumer goods.” Festive season shoppers and credit card users know this. After all, no financial institution (FI) will offer 0% EMI (equated monthly instalment) and not earn anything for the service. FIs are shrewd businesses and not charitable institutions. This move by RBI will force them to re-phrase their schemes; and, perhaps, make the charges more transparent and easy to compute.

Ramesh Iyer

 

Good Observations

This is with regard to “Repo rate hike cannot act as an effective measure in taming inflation” by Vivek Sharma. Good observations, but is likely to fall on deaf ears. Such increases have only put a brake on growth without doing anything for inflation, caused by high oil prices and high fiscal deficit due to populist policies. This has, in turn, stoked inflation by pumping liquidity into rural areas. RBI should have learnt from the lack of correlation between the interest rate and inflation rate by this time. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and RBI continues to flog a dead horse.

Java

 

Call the Bluff!

This is with regard to “RBI’s New Financial Inclusion Committee: Rife with conflicts of interests” by Ramesh S Arunanchalam. This article is very pertinent. It is important that we call the bluff. First of all, the committee is not even needed. Secondly, why fill it with people from commercial microfinance alone? Where are the representatives of cooperatives and cooperative banks? And could the country not field people who don’t have conflict of interest? Or maybe this is an exercise in promoting vested interests?

Smita Premchander

User

SC says co-operative societies don't fall within the ambit of RTI Act

Mere supervision or regulation of a body by government would not make that body a public authority, the apex court ruled

The Supreme Court while quashing a circular by Kerala government ruled that co-operative societies do not fall within the ambit of Right to Information (RTI). The Kerala government circular was issued to bring all such societies within the scope of the RTI Act.

 

A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri said mere supervision or regulation of a body by government would not make that body a public authority and quashed the Kerala High Court's order holding the circular valid.

 

"Societies are, of course, subject to the control of the statutory authorities like Registrar, Joint Registrar and the Government. But cannot be said that the state exercises any direct or indirect control over the affairs of the society which is deep and all pervasive," the bench said

 

"Supervisory or general regulation under the statute over the co-operative societies, which are body corporate does not render activities of the body so regulated as subject to such control of the State so as to bring it within the meaning of the State or instrumentality of the State," it added.

 

The state government had informed the Registrar of Co-operative Societies in May 2006 that all institutions formed by laws made by State Legislature is a public authority and, therefore, all co-operative institutions coming under the administrative control of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies are also public authorities.

 

Quashing the state government's decision, the bench said that power exercised by the Registrar over the societies is merely supervisory and regulatory.

 

"The mere supervision or regulation as such by a statute or otherwise of a body would not make that body a public authority within the meaning of Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the Act. In other words just like a body owned or body substantially financed by the appropriate government, the control of the body by the appropriate government would also be substantial and not merely supervisory or regulatory," the bench added.

User

COMMENTS

Surendera Bhanot

3 years ago

This Judgement will kill thousands of the appeals pending in the various information commissions. Can anyone quote the citation of this judgement or give a link to download the same.

Interest rate cut will not boost auto sales in festive season

Most automakers increased vehicle prices by 1% to 5% during September-October this year. Therefore, the discounts offered in the next couple of months will not translate into significant cost savings when compared with prices in August 2013, feels India Ratings

Some public sector undertaking (PSU) banks announced around 20 basis points cut in interest rates for autos, with the rates now in the range of 10.45%-10.75% for auto loans up to three years for purchase of new vehicles. However, according to a research note by India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra), the reduction in auto loan interest rates by certain public sector banks will not have a meaningful impact on auto sales.

 

With the landed cost of imported components rising significantly in the current financial year due to rupee depreciation, several auto companies have been compelled to raise prices to pass a part of the input cost increases to consumers. The cost increases announced by most auto companies during September—October have been in the range of 1%-5%. Ind-Ra said, "The discounts offered in the next couple of months will not translate into significant cost savings when compared with prices in August 2013. Hence, the limited monetary incentive in a scenario of negative consumer sentiment may also curtail sales in the festive season."  

 

The rate cut by banks follows Indian government’s decision to increase the quantum of capital infusion over the Rs14,000 crore already allocated in the FY14 budget. The capital infusion was intended to encourage lending by banks and spur the purchases of autos and consumer durables in the following festive season.

 

However, the ratings agency said it believes auto sales during the October to December festive season will not be influenced by the prospect of lower interest costs. This is mainly because the overall cost of ownership is high and continues to rise steadily due to the frequent rise in fuel prices. The freeing up of petrol prices from June 2010 and the monthly increase in diesel prices permitted from January 2013 has resulted in a drag on auto sales.

 

The narrowing price differential between petrol and diesel has led to a slowdown in demand for diesel vehicles which were largely responsible for driving passenger vehicles (PV) sales in FY12 and FY13.

 

In addition, Ind-Ra said a 3% hike in excise duty to 30% on utility vehicles (UV) of over 4 metres in length and over 1,300cc engine capacity has also dampened sales. While this segment registered a 52.2% sales volumes growth in FY13, there was a 4.8% decline in volumes between April and September. A large proportion of volumes in this segment are contributed by entry level UVs, sales of which have also been adversely impacted by higher on road prices due to the excise duty hike, the report said. 

 

According to the RBI Consumer Confidence Survey—June 2013, only 12.8% of respondents wanted to purchase a vehicle compared with 15.9% in March 2013 and 19.7% in December 2012. "This seems to suggest a steadily worsening consumer sentiment which could negatively impact sales over the next few months. The JD Power Survey, released on 29 August 2013, suggested that more price conscious, middle class buyers are considering buying a used vehicle instead of a new one. Ind-Ra believes this is due to the growth of the organised used car market in India along with the presence of major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)," the ratings agency added.

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