Dis-service-providers – Public Sector Banks
For the third day in a row, the coin-dispensing machine at Canara Bank (a public sector bank or PSB) had a notice stuck on it saying 'Out of order'. 
Some customers made a wry face and went away. I decided to march into the manager’s cabin and ask why the machine hadn’t been repaired. 
He gave me a bored, exasperated look and said, “It is not working.” 
Sure, I can see that. “Why?” I asked again. “Because it is out of order,” he explains. 
Why? I persisted (like a pesky kid). 
He said “The repairman has to come from Pune to Bengaluru. That costs money. A lot of money.”
So what was the point in installing a fancy machine, at taxpayers’ expense, if it couldn’t be repaired locally (even in IT city)? He dismissed me by turning towards an employee, who was hovering near the cabin door with a ledger.
This is how government departments work. Why bestir oneself, when it is the public that pays?
*    *     *
Taxpayers had to file their annual self-assessment dues in December. I usually pay at the Canara Bank branch behind the income-tax office. This year, I was told that this branch would not accept my cheque and that I had to go to my own branch. Why? A shrug was the only answer. 
So off I went, to my branch in south Bengaluru—only to find that they had moved. I am 80 years old and walk with a stick; in theory, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has rules about 'door-step banking' for elders. My email query to the manager again, brought no response. 
No autorickshaw would come for short distances (800 metres, to the Bank’s new premises) so I walked , clutching my stick—and  had to climb steps (with difficulty) to get into the  branch at its new location. There was a cabin marked 'assistance to senior citizens' but it was unmanned.
"You have to go get the challan from counter 4” I was told, but the woman at counter 4 said I should go to counter 1. 
By the time I returned home with my counterfoil confirming payment, I was exhausted. 
“At least you got your work done, I had to go three times,” said a friend. 
“Government of the people, for the people…”? Not quite.
Banks are now connected via internet, so why do customers have to go to a particular branch, to get a challan or pay in tax? Why do PSBs make senior citizens run around, when the RBI issued guidelines over a year ago, for 'doorstep banking'? Questions without answers.
I was once in an autorickshaw when the driver’s mobile rang; he stopped and answered the call, and kept saying “sorry sir, sorry sir, I promise sir…” etc, in a cringing tone. Turned out that he had taken a small loan of Rs1 lakh  from a PSB for buying his vehicle, and the bank was harassing him for defaulting on two instalment payments, and threatening to confiscate his auto. 
If he were Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi, he could fly abroad and escape – but for the aam aadmi, the rules are different, right? He can be threatened, even if the amount he owes is a miniscule fraction of what the liquor baron and diamond merchant and others owe. 
PSBs have  total NPAs (non-performing assets) reportedly exceeding Rs6.78 lakh crore as on March 2020 (how many digits is that?) A generation ago, one never spoke of lakhs of crores. Now we do – that’s progress, right?
I have a small savings account at the State Bank of India (SBI) which I wanted to close when the branch moved away. The Bank wouldn’t let me. “Irli,” (let it be) they said, clinging onto a paltry few thousands that I had in my account. 
As a patriotic citizen, perhaps I ought to let SBI (which has had to write off Rs9,000 crore, owed by Mr Mallya) use my money, to help it to tackle its  horrendous NPA dues….My pleas that after the bank moved I find it difficult to attend to my account and want to close  it, fell on deaf ears. 
   *      *        *
The latest is Bank of India (BoI), another PSB,  asking my husband and me to fill in KYC forms afresh (why, when there has been no change in details?) We duly filled up the forms, and enclosed passport photos, now they want us both to go personally to the bank and produce the originals of our Aadhaar card, although we have sent in photocopies of our documents. 
To prove that we are not cheating?  
Are customers assumed to be crooks unless proved otherwise? 
We entrust our hard-earned savings to the bank and receive harassment in return? 
My husband is an 88-year-old patient undergoing prolonged treatment. And we have had our bank accounts for at least 40 years…
Earlier, whenever I complained to the banking ombudsman, I used to get a response, but the last two times I sent in my grievances, there has not even been an acknowledgement. 
So much for 'customer being king'. 
Where would banks be, without customers? 
How many thousands of other citizens have the same experience as we have had? 
Why do we take this lying down?  It is our money, right?
(Dr Sakuntala Narasimhan is a Bengaluru-based senior journalist, writer, musician and consumer activist. She received the government of India national award for consumer protection, twice (1994 and 2000) and is a former Vice president of the Consumer Guidance Society of India, Mumbai. She is also a renowned senior vocalist in both traditions of Indian classical music - Hindustani and Carnatic, an A-graded artiste of All India Radio in both traditions.)
3 years ago
Reading the hardship faced by the author, I can fully empathize with her anger. We need to understand that senior citizens are being forced to adopt new technology/efficiency after they have been used to the paper based system for years. These technology systems have been put in place without much concern for user experience or customer satisfaction.
The best example of this are bank ATMs and other hardware. Many of them have sub standard hardware, with no regular maintenance, poorly designed buttons and fonts, etc. How would a 80 year old pensioner feel if they press a wrong button, or if the cash is stuck in the machine? It must be terrifying. This may happen only once a day or week, but isn't it still unfair? If everyone who has not seen this problem comments that they didn't face issues, does the problem go away for the victim?

Respect and fair service in banks is the citizen's right.
The point about the auto driver's loan problems and large bank fraudsters may not be relevant, since the local branch is not involved. However the contrast in the experience of the small borrower and the mega fraudster with their banks should be noted. Every rich person I know has a go-to PSU bank.

I request Moneylife readers to demand fair treatment for all, especially people who need additional help. Thanks to ML team for providing the author with an opportunity to highlight her plight.
3 years ago
nirav modi escaped, why shouldnt the rikshawala. Is this a justification for default?
3 years ago
It is strange to see dependency on PSB apart from pensioners. People can blame themselves for depending on "Dis-service" providers.
Replied to prashantrane2000 comment 3 years ago
How and why is it strange? We recommend that pensioners stay with PSBs since there is an implicit government guarantee . Maybe you dont understand a lot of things and should take a broader view of people who were born long before your time!
Replied to sucheta comment 3 years ago
Dear Madam, I meant the same. it is best suited for pensioners because of govt policies and to consolidate their banking needs. I do not see a need for PSB if you want to open a new account, simply because their are better alternatives
Replied to prashantrane2000 comment 3 years ago
Not just pensioners, millions of people need to go to public sector banks. People who earn less than average, people who cannot meet the high minimum balance rules of private banks, people in rural areas, people who are not used to new technology, etc. They do not comment on online articles or social media, but they are the majority.
3 years ago
Instead of roaming around govt bank your entire life why can't you go to private bank if you get better service there? As simple as that. But you are afraid to go to a private bank as you may lose your money if the bank shuts the business or afraid of the private bank employees as they may persuade you to invest in loss making products and earn profit from your loss as commision.
3 years ago
Why Bank employees protest against privatization ? they may have to move from Hardly working to hard working and lowering Cholesterol
Replied to tillan2k comment 3 years ago
My friend Banking not from 10 am to 5 pm what u see
Don't comment on whole psb for one or more incidents
Please look into service charges of pvt bank and psbs
Have u seen any pvt bank open branches in hill areas, remote villages
Come and see villages there psb's giving door delivery to remote villagers irrespective of their age through business correspondent
No pvt bank will give subsidized loans.
Mirav modi or Vijaya malya corporate loans given under political pressure by group of psbs and pvt banks also
Don't lecture about privatization u can afford pvt bank charges what about rural India
Will u work in naxal hit areas for the salary below group 4 employee in central govt
Replied to bvkhk87 comment 3 years ago
I presume,there ia a mandatory condition in nationalised bank branch location which stipulates approachability of the bank for senior citizens and handicapped customers. Provision of lifts if the branch is located other than ground floor is a must.

Customers have a right to voice their grievances and take up legal action when required.

I had to close down my fixed deposits from Canara Bank ,basaveswaranagar branch and move to ICICI bank due to their absolute lack of professionalism and indifferent attitude.

Hope , some one from Canara Bank reads this and has some conscience pricking for not having done their job properly.
Amitabha Banerjee
3 years ago
It is not necessary to go to a bank branch to pay advance tax. It can be done via Internet by logging in to the Income Tax portal. I do this every quarter.

My strategy in dealing with banks is NOT to go to a branch at all if I can possibly avoid it. I deal with machines, not humans. Machines are more knowledgeable, more reliable and quicker than human employees, and best of all - machines don't try to sell you products that you don't need.
3 years ago
Tell me why bank officials shouldn't followed up for its advance even after two installments overdue/default when it will be categorised as NPA after 3 consecutive overdue EMIs?

In general, public came accrossed in low interest loan as well as higher rate of interrst on deposits offers/schemes of pvt. bank but later they came to know they have been cheated when bank/FI levied unwanted charges.
3 years ago
customer is no longer king but a slave of half-baked dimwits.
Replied to hamungel comment 3 years ago
PSUs think customer is nuisance . PSU recruit lowest merit with highest salary customers burn candles at both ends .
Replied to tillan2k comment 3 years ago
PSUs are such a fool and yet you trust them with your money? Why?
Replied to tillan2k comment 3 years ago
Do you know how much a PSB employee gets paid? As per the govt rules not even the minimum wage. The bank employees are asking for at least the minimum wage be paid to them, but no one is bothered. When it comes to staff. Do you even know how many vacancies are there? But yet the govt didn't allow to recruit that many people.
Replied to anthony.loneranger.aniol1 comment 3 years ago
u may be having out sourced staff like security guard . ask car show room how many buyers of car bank employees ?
3 years ago
When it becomes your habit to complain, we see posts like this...showing only one aspect of the entire picture.
Replied to msghimanshu comment 3 years ago
noted for future compliance.
3 years ago

1. When SBI/CB are on the verge of privatization, the managements are becoming rutheless.
2. In my case, an SB ac with Balance of Rs.1139/= has been debited with Rs.450/= towards SC,etc. I am forced to seek closure of my account.
3. The Karma Yogi PM with a revolutionary mindset Shri Narendra Modi is yet to learn lessons by understanding the psyche of Indian citizenry. The citizen's ire against CITIZENSHIP BILLS, FARM ACTS & IMA'S STRIKE AGAINST AYURVEDA SURGERIES, etc.
4. Majority of Indians are not ready for any revolution [sudden change]. I, squarely, blame the BJP/RSS cadres with inadequacies in taking the schemes to micro-level citizenry.
5. https://lnkd.in/f6eNdcv.


Gopal Sarda
3 years ago
The piint mentioned about recovery efforts from an autorickshaw driver is totally uncalled for. What should Banks do ? Forget about small loans cos of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya. Then also you will complain why people are not taking any action flr recovering their dues. If you see the methods the so called service oriented Pvt Banks take for recovery of dues (even from farmers) you would not have said this. And as for the machines installed in the branches, most pf the time they malfunction because some customer will (inadvertently) put a stapled paper or pin. These machines have AMCs and are serviced only by that AMC. The main reason for such issues which cause grievance to customer is complete disconnect between Banks top management and the branch employees. The top mgmt just issues diktats and dont always take effort to understand the branch issues.
Replied to Gopal Sarda comment 3 years ago
The eighty year old lady, took pains to collect the incidence of disservice in PSBs.

She being government award winner for consumer protection, might have took up the issues with the controllers of the respective bank branches or with the banking ombudsman, via e.mail.

Now let me ask why such challenges business is forced on PSBs only. Why private banks do not shoulder the burden?
Replied to Gopal Sarda comment 3 years ago
Agreed with your all points.
3 years ago
Most of the people working in the PSU s think that its a govt dept job while it its not considering the current situation.
Many of them dont mind customers at all....some of them only take care of HNI s only.....despite that reality,
Regarding the senior citizens problems in the article, the main problem with him is, all the things he mentioned to be done at branch cud have been done from his home using internet banking of the said bank including tax payment,...
Doorstep banking is still in its nascent stage for which staff shortage is an issue...if branch staff start going out to serve outside, these kind of customers who come inside will complain again that no body is there to attend their queries....
Asking KYC again is because of RBI guidelines..not because bank doubt or want to harass the customer....all have to submit KYC again after 2 or 5 or 10 years irrespective of changes in them.
Regarding mallya modi statement, retail branches are doing the task of recovering monies from stressed accounts of their branch, they cannot sit in a retail branch and recover mallyas loan. It is not their duty... everyone is doing their own duty assigned to them...its public money...u cannot simply let free any people who have borrowed money from the funds of public....even after so called harassment, many people are shameless or incapable of payment...
And finally, many workers in the industry today are not interested in banking job but are forced to take it because of lack of other options with decent salary..
3 years ago
Sir I am also live in Bengaluru . Having an account with Canara Bank but my Branch is in UP. last two year I didn't visit my Branch .But I had done all the things including tax payment , transfer , deposit , cash withdrawal without visiting any branch just by using mobile banking , internet banking , ATM , Cash recycler . Even I had changed my mobile number just putting a mail to my Branch which is located 2000 km away from Bengaluru . Sir if you are really versed with the technology then you don't need to blame others. Last but not least last time when did you visit any state government department specially land revenue department, Registry office , Water Supply office . If not then go there and look what a pathetic condition is there and this situation is more or less same in all states. Need much more improvement there .
Replied to tushar.kundu comment 3 years ago
Some people are born to give complaints without understanding the reality or not progressing as the world progresses...
3 years ago
This is a universal experience. I am 80 and a pensioner of SBI with no revision of the paltry pension I have been getting as a munificence of the Bank and not as my right! The pension fixed in 1994 has not been revised and there are at least 15000 like me. Leave that alone. Coming to service, as a Senior Citizen, no doorstep banking that the RBI promised to such category. Even when I visit the Bank, the service is a gratis. I have suggested the Branch Manager some steps that we took when we were in that position: Have specific timings for the Senior Citizens; or at least open separate counter at a specified hour; Keep some newspapers and a few journals in vernacular if they had to wait for a service like getting their TDR or opening a locker or getting a loan on their own TDR. The other suggestion - the basic security measure - at their ATM just by the side of the branch. Out of the two ATMs and one SB passbook vending machine, only one works. Cash is replenished in the ATM in direct public glare that too by women employees accompanied by a male messenger! There is no guard as he is expensive!! They do not even have a non-transparent curtain while depositing cash! They do not even pull down the shutters three-fourths way. Coming to doorstep service, I never heard of it at this branch as they have limited staff where even to fill the counters they have a problem. This Prashantinagar Branch of SBI is a very busy branch. I thank my stars for avoiding a visit by transacting everything on the internet and sometimes this also defies but better than visiting the branch for a service. Staff are in disproportionately small numbers to the number of clients they serve and they are also not well equipped in knowledge and skills. Half the time, the systems do not open. The Bank that used to proudly say that they serve best the small man, they now sell mutual funds, insurance policies and not deposits. They do dispense credit for housing and some retail loans here and there. They earlier used to greet on the Branch and Bank Anniversary Day and New Years Day and even this they stopped! Their walk-in business in the crowded locality is enough to keep them busy!! This just is an illustration adding to the story well brought out by Bengaluru journalist.
3 years ago
I have a different opinion about response to Senior Citizen by banks. My parents whenever they have interacted with any Bank (PSU, Private) both, they receive outstanding response and quality of service, help, irrespective of balance in that branch. Some of them take extra personal effort to make a call, email, SMS as well.

For whatever reason, I find bankers response to senior citizens of much superior quality than the society itself.
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