Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"It's all a bogus!"

I was sitting in the NRI Services room of a large Indian International Bank today (the one with letters that sort of repeat themselves) waiting patiently for a demand draft to get printed. I was closing my account with them – I could understand the delay if not appreciate it.

A customer came out of one of the air conditioned offices and sat next to me. He was slender and looked tired and irate - like he had aged a lot recently. He launched into a tirade about how bad the bank was. “It’s all a bogus” he yelled, startling people in the vicinity. “This bank is going to have a lock on its doors in less than five years!”

Although this struck me as remarkably rude behavior, I was bored out of my skull so I asked him what the deal was. He gave me not one but three stories that made it sound like the bank was incompetent and branches across cities ignored each other.

In particular he told me one story about how he had shown up at the bank four days before a fixed deposit (on which he was a mandate) was to mature asking what he needed on the day of maturity to transfer the funds to a checking account. Nothing, just show up a bank officer told him. On D-day he sat down to execute the nitty-gritty and was promptly told he needed a signature from the account holder – who just happens to be in Canada.

While this makes a lot of sense – the lack of up front understanding of the process involved in executing a transaction struck a chord with me. Mostly because I’ve been through this several times now.

In fact, I’ve been trying to give thousands of dollars to a multinational bank (one that’s not listed on the exchange yet in India) and it’s been three days of running around and I still have the money in my pocket. It’s not unusual to be told all you need is X to get started and once you sit down to execute a transaction, you get asked for W, Y and Z. Sometimes even an A and B will get added to the list.

I can’t even begin to imagine trying to take money out. Shudder!


Anonymous said...

I wonder why they don't just hire a competent web designer and upload policies, instructions and forms? That would solve the information gap.

Unknown said...

That's a good idea but I don't think anyone knows the entire picture. People know fragments of it and when they run with it and hit a roadblock they deal with it.

I think there just way too much job churn in these banks. I've certainly never dealt with the same person twice.

Anonymous said...

The link to submit your stories to IndianPad is incorrect. The link currently has two submits in it.

Its should be