RBI panel puts final report on bank customer service improvements in cold storage
Moneylife Digital Team 24 March 2011

The committee, chaired by M Damodaran, has prepared the report. But members of the panel (a few top banking luminaries are on its board) are not aware of when the report will be finalised and whether there are any changes. Mr Damodaran, however, says that he is in the process of redrafting the report and that “it should be out in the next ten days”

A committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to look into the issues of customer services, has prepared its report and has been waiting for the final take from Mr M Damodaran, head of the committee.

Despite the report being ready, it has not been finalised for reasons best know to Mr Damodaran, say informed sources.

In fact, because of the long silence, the committee members are not even aware if there will be further meetings and modifications to their recommendations.

According to sources, the report has apparently been submitted in late January to Mr Damodaran and the committee is waiting for his final go-head.

"After submitting the report to Mr Damodaran in January, we are also waiting for the report to be released and we are not aware when it will be released," one of the members of the committee told Moneylife.

Ashok Rawat, one of the members of the committee and Hon Secretary of the All-India Bank Depositors' Association (Mumbai) had earlier confirmed to Moneylife that the report was supposed to be released in mid-February.

"The Damodaran Committee will table the report on customer services by the 15th of this month. If the logistics are properly taken care of, we may even see the report being released earlier-before the 10th of this month," Ashok Rawat had told Moneylife on 7th February. (See: Damodaran Committee may release final report on customer service in banks by mid-February )

However, a senior RBI official informed that "the report is being finalised."

"The committee is preparing the report and it will be finalised within the next one month," P J Mathkar, assistant general manager, customer service department (from RBI's central office, Mumbai), told Moneylife.

Kaza Sudhakar, chief general manager, customer service department, RBI and member-secretary of the committee refused to offer any comments, and asked Moneylife to speak to the head of the committee (Mr Damodaran).

In response to our query, Mr Damodaran said "All we have just now is a draft report, or working paper. This is the first important report on the customer services after the MN Goiporia report. Our committee met a lot of stakeholders and we want to make sure that their views are properly represented in the report. I am in the process of redrafting it and the report should be out in the next ten days."

According to our sources, banks do not want the report to be released as it has recommended many pro-consumer suggestions, which will increase pressure on banks for better customer services.

The committee is expected to undertake a strict review of the existing system of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and attending to customer service in banks, including the approach, attitude and fair treatment to customers from retail, small and pensioners segments. The committee was also asked to evaluate the existing system of grievance redressal mechanism prevalent in banks, its structure and efficacy and recommend measures for expeditious resolution of complaints.

The committee may also lay down a suitable timeframe for disposal of complaints including the last escalation point within that timeframe.

M Rajyalakshmi Rao, former member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi; MV Nair, chairman, Indian Banks Association and CMD, Union Bank of India, Mumbai; BM Mittal, CEO, BCSBI, Mumbai; MS Sundara Rajan, former CMD, Indian Bank, Chennai and S Gopalalakrishnan, former Banking Ombudsman, Chennai, are the members of the committee.

1 decade ago
The committee is headed by M Damodaran who is advisor to several foreign banks. If he is sitting on the report ... as I believe he is, then maybe it is because it contains pro-customer recommendations.
As SEBI chairman, Damodaran was hardly pro-customer. And now maybe ING Vysya where he is a consultant does not like what is recommended!

When it comes to consumers, nobody is interested!!

1 decade ago
It's true to form that the banking luminaries do not know when the report will be finalised. But I know - never. Why finalise it when there will be updates and modifications involving regular sittings of the committee with attendant perks!!!
Narendra Doshi
1 decade ago
It is surprising that there was NO private/bank representative in the committee. Do you know why?
Banks are more commercialized & business / profit oriented NOW, as it was pointed out by Mr. Ravi Subramaniam the other day in his talk on 22/3/11 at Moneylife Foundation seminar. However, THEY MUST BE SENSITIVE & promptly FAIR ESPECIALLY TO THE NEEDS OF THE SMALL, RETAIL INVESTORS. Let them cater to ALL but social inclusiveness is desirable. When they expand to more rural interiors of India , this feature will distinguish good one from another.
Zero balance accounts, printed passbooks etc have been IMPLEMENTED by the banks , ONLY after the government's insistence. The above pending report must be thoroughly updated & implemented at the earliest even while the govt. is likely to open up for more bank licenses.
RBI has been praised worldwide for its policies (avoiding Quantum Easing andsubsequent printing of currencies). It is high time Indian Banks also gain such reputation. This is one area where you can beat China, easily.
Nagesh KiniFCA
1 decade ago
Out of long experience as the statutory auditor of major PSUs and foreign Banks and later as an activist I had submitted a number of concerns to be addressed. There was no response as to how many were discussed or considered by the Damodaran Committee. Putting it in cold storage or shelving it a retrograde anti-consumer act - just because it will put the banks! Let it be put on public domain.
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