On recent visit to Belgaum one of the major initiative was to be with mom to witness her trials and tribulations she faces as wife of a bedridden retired soldier. The treatment in the Bank etc for old people is terrible to say the least. The concept of customer at least as in case of old folks standing with pain and tension does not seem to be the main problem for the bank which has monopoly on the distribution of government official pensions.
1. Old folks stand in line for hours to just get a checkbook updated where a person doing the job can ask them to go to another counter arbitarily at any time without giving any reason(possibly valid reason – hungry – i am shutting down).
Resolution – just have automated check updating machines with attenders to help old/people who can not read/write the interface.
2. Old folks stand in the one or 2 lines for the pension for hours again with shoddy service and personal question barrage – why do you need so much money when you are old, why are you withdrawing all the money, where will you spend the money etc. Customers also undergo shouting of various kind completely arbitarirly based on the mood of the teller. The teller folks seem to be doing a favor by giving the pension.
Resolution – why not have special monthly counters for disbursement of the pension by more # of people. Get the servicing folks a training how not to ask personal questions and treat customers with more respect. (you have to be present physically to see the treatment).
3. Transfer of pension and easier validation of the pensioner – This is another sadly ironic stuff, a pensioner is person who puts in x years of life in the service and deserves the humane touch only when he has become dependent or is keeping unwell and can’t keep pace with the life. I have to ensure mother has enough heart to go back to bank and get the pension as everytime the bank folks ask uncomfortable questions before disbursing the pension due to my father. Earlier I used to tell mom to just leave the pension and not worry about it, but she considers that as her/father’s right to have and be on her own. I was apalled to see how she and her compatriots of older age have to struggle and literally made to beg the pension due to them, they are made to run from pillar to post to get signatures and approvals and everytime this keeps on changing. I was trying to ask the manager how this can change as father can’t move or talk – one was insensitive to the extent to say – it is not their problem – it stuck me it is true. Least they can do is understand the dependents and make simple arrangement for identification. But I was expecting too much. BTW this manager was “educated” upper crust material with unfortunate lack of understanding of “service” and brimming with arrogance of being SBI person. Anyway point was earlier on few occassions we met with few folks who could understand the situation and help. we are keeping the fingers crossed as the transfer of pension to place of location is very cumbersome and totally unclear. Armed forces too do not have good mechanism to address the same or simple information disbursal for the needy.
4. Credit card woes – As mentioned earlier the local credit card companies are fast loosing the trust of the customers by delaying the cheque encashing, “forgetting to encash” , “blaming the courier/system” etc. Technique seems to be similar – delay the cheque encashment. Personally I have been stung by it in HSBC and ABN AMro lately. HSBC card I have cut off. The process was cathartic to say the least – I pre-paid the money, they denied having recieved the cheque, confirmation was done through courier firm(where we found the cheque was carried and deposited into black hole). They did not deposit the cheque for almost 20 days and later on system generated message reaches me threatening with consequences of not paying or paying late complete with late charges. I question the same and share the cheque information, they deny having it, I share there own pick up(skypack reciept). It goes on till they say they have found the cheque with incomplete details and that is why they did not deposit it. Wow ! – what was incomplete – hmm name was not present. I look at my copy of the cheque – everything seems allright. But what the heck – I ask for latest charges including late and ask to be cancelled. I call up 6 times to cancel the credit card, every time I am promised somebody will call up to get the reason and cancel. It does not happen and in between I again get another letter of not having paid the amount. I call up with new reference, One person says my credit is closed and shows x amount credited extra(i have basically paid extra). another person responds saying they have not recieved anything at all :). In the end – I record the call and keep it handy for you never know when they can reopen the account and create another fraud. I wonder what kind of CIO/IT systems these folks run (I was under the impression only government banks can be so bad).
ABN-AMRO is presently contesting they have not recieved the cheque dated 14th June for 9000 Rs and gone ahead and charged me extra amount. I am trying to see how can I survive without the credit card as I did 2 years ago to live a sedate, peaceful life.