Banks treat Delhiwalas most shabbily -- 21 pc increase in complaints in fiscal '16

By Raghu Mohan|13th Dec 2016
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It’s hard to find a soul who’s not been hurt by banks – false debits, being overcharged on plastic transactions, or generally being taken for a ride. Delhiwalas seem to be the most abused lot by our banks. And who’s saying all this? The country’s money managers at Mint Road.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) releases a tome towards the end of the year which nobody bothers to read – the Annual Report on Banking Ombudsman (BO) Scheme which lists the various kinds of complaints filed by customers with BOs as an Alternate Disputes Redressal (ADR) mechanism set up in 2000.

The latest RBI report says there was a 21 percent increase in the complaints filed with BOs in fiscal '16. It tells you bank customers will not just roll over and accept whatever banks throw at them by way of service; that they are more than ready for a roll in the mud-pit.

What came out was that Delhiwalas made up for 21 percent (22554) of those who girded up their loins to take on the suits at banks’ front desks. It was an increase of 53 percent over fiscal '15. It made Mint Road sit up and commission a special study on folks in the National Capital Region and banks – Delhiwalon ko gussa kyun aata hai with their bankers?

And here are the findings of the study:

  • The boom in real estate, tech-services, education, and healthcare saw a huge influx of folks from the nearby hinterland.
  • There was also a huge perk in banking services being offered – be it by of way of branches or your till-box (automated teller machines or ATMs).
  • Given that relatively high literacy rates in NCR and Haryana, it is “presumed that there was greater awareness among bank customers in the region.”
  • You also had the ease of filing complaints through online modes given the fast internet growth in the region over the last five years.
  • Plastic complaints made up for over one-fifth of all complaints at the all-India level, but in NCR’s case, it was almost 40 percent.

On their part, bankers, who were asked for their views, cited the following:

  • Diversity and socio-cultural differences in the population.
  • Speedy development, particular in peripheral areas.
  • Low technological and other awareness levels in certain segments of the population.
  • Non-registration of complaints involving small amount by law enforcing agencies.
  • Lack of proper co-operation in the dispute resolution (like, sharing ATM footage).
  • Growth in business disproportionate to growth in human resource at banks.
  • Higher propensity of fraudulent transaction (particularly on ATMs) in border and peripheral areas; and in less developed lower socio-economic localities.
  • Groups with vested interests enticing people to make frivolous, non-material complaints at times with ulterior motives.

OBs data show NCR, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kanpur, and Bhopal put together, accounted for 62 percent of the total complaints received.

An interesting trend is folks in the north, in general, seems to be quick to take up issues with OBs. The region accounted for 40 percent of all complaints received in all zones. Western and southern India were tied at 23 percent each. The east of India seem to be most happy with banks – only 14 percent of all complaints received. The spurt in complaints received year-on-year also follows a similar pattern -- 34.67 percent in the North, 14.99 percent in the West, 14.70 percent in the South; and 7.50 percent in the East.

 

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