Why should not public banks be privatized?

Long Que in a Bank-Action Wanted

Is it a bank or a ration shop?

In this 5-part series, I will present some facts on the quality of services offered by employees working in various government-owned institutions or public sector enterprises. I will cover the following 5 sectors, namely

  1. Public Sector Banks;
  2. Government Hospitals;
  3. Transportation;
  4. Education; and
  5. Street Light maintenance

It has been observed that whenever the government attempts to privatize some of its services, there comes a strong backlash on its intent. While the employees working in these undertakings are free to have their own viewpoint (as it is related to their bread and butter), I can site some examples where I feel that it should be in the best interest of the general public to privatize them.

My aim is thus to create awareness in the readers so that a strong “Accountability Clause” be implemented for them that will force them to either improve their level of customer service or be ready to sit at home and give chance to other capable persons.

(1)    Banking Sector

Old Bank Employee-Action Wanted

Is he an asset or a liability?

Employees working under Public Sector banks are very slow in their work and most of them are old. It is sad to note that while many educated youngsters (who are also good in operating computer) are unable to find a job, these oldies make no effort to provide efficient customer service. They take pride to postpone / delay every single task assigned to them (as if it is their right). In fact, many of them don’t treat their customers politely.

I take the case of 3 banks here {2 Public Banks and 1 Private Bank}:

(1) Syndicate Bank;

(2) Bank of India; and

(3) Axis Bank

I took 2 Public Banks to highlight:

(a) the difference in their quality of service and

(b) the fact that when one bank can make conscious effort to improve then why can’t other banks. Is it because of the unwillingness among employees to embrace change?

To register a nominee, the executives of the above banks behaved as follows:-

Axis Bank: The account holder is just required to fill up the nomination form and handover to the concerned person. Period. No questions asked. The change will be reflective on the same day. The employees deliver all these services with a smile on their face.

Bank of India: The account holder somehow manages to understand the language of the form and tries to fit the details in the little space. The bank employee promises to implement the change in the nomination form by the next working day even if they look free and have ample time before the bank closes for the day.

Syndicate Bank: The nomination form has to be taken from one counter and deposited in another counter. While submitting the nomination form, the account holder gets to know that a witness has to sign on that form. To add to customer’s misery, that witness should have an account in the same bank. Also, the account holder has to submit his address proof/photo id in order to fully comply with the legal formalities.

To avail the Net Banking facility, the executives of the above banks behaved as follows:-

Axis Bank: The account holder has to deposit the Net Banking form. The user name and the password will be mailed to the address within a week’s time. Period. No question asked. The account holder need not has to visit the bank to verify any details.

Bank of India: There are 3 letters issued in the name of the account holder who have applied for a Net Banking facility. Out of these, the account holder will receive 2 letters at his mentioned address (generally home address) after 15 days and one letter will come at the bank branch. The account holder has to bring those 2 letters to the branch who will then give their approval to operate the facility.

Syndicate Bank: All letters (user name, password, etc.) will come to the branch and the account holder has to visit the branch after 15 days to collect those letters.

The above cases are just the examples to give a glimpse of the difference in the quality of customer service.

It’s high time for the banking management of public sector banks to evolve their employees in tune with the increase in customers’ expectations. Their existing level of customer service seems like those set under British Raj. More investment is required on the manpower development. Also, the banks’ employees should be given a chance to upgrade their skills.

I am sure that you must have experienced horrible customer service from the employees of public sector banks. Please do share your stories and help build a momentum against their bad and unfriendly practices.

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