25 Mar 2024

The sorry state of Indian banks

What do you expect a business to do? To add value to its customers’ lives and charge a fee for the value addition. A win-win arrangement where both the business and the customers voluntarily work together for their own benefit.

What do Indian bank employees do? They simply ask the customer for “favours” to benefit the business at the cost of the customer. (Just to be clear, I am talking in general about banks in India; not the entity named Indian Bank.)

This isn’t new; this has been happening for well over a decade now from what I have seen. Whenever I interact with bank employees, most of them push an insurance product. They don’t even pretend that they are helping me, the customer. They openly describe these as requests for favour.

My family members and I have received calls in the past few weeks from bank employees with requests to open fixed deposits so their branch’s balance sheet shows inflated numbers when the financial year ends. I opened a 10 days fixed deposit because I felt I could help a bank employee. That person knows that a 10 days fixed deposit doesn’t serve a meaningful benefit to anyone—neither to the bank nor to me. But still they were happy with my opening that deposit.

Our banks have been measuring the wrong things and incentivising the wrong things for a very long period. Until banks get serious about adding value to customers, our banks will stay as rotten as they are now.

Image credit: rawpixel.com

Until a meaningful positive change happens, I’d continue to repeat my advice: “Do not ever tell your bank that you have money to invest. They are uninterested in your desires and dreams. They only think about how they can transfer some of your money into their own coffers.”

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