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Quality of bank customer service poor: BCSBI

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Sep 11 (UNI) The quality of bank customer service in the country remains poor, despite several efforts undertaken since the last three decades, Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) Chairperson Kishore Udeshi lamented today.

Delivering a special address on the 'Code of Bank's Commitment for Individual Customers', organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here, she said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had initiated several measures to ensure the quality of services to bank customers. However, the desired levels have not been met.

''We have banks who all agree with one voice that customer service is their priority. However, at the same time, we have breaches of basic regulations on customer service and these deficiencies still continue,'' she regretted.

Ms Udeshi said the setting up of the BCSBI was mooted by the RBI because of the felt need to bring about a fundamental change in the overall approach to customer service. Membership of the BCSBI was restricted to scheduled commercial banks and 67 banks have made known their intention to become members. The BCSBI was currently in the process of entering into a covenant with each bank.

She informed that the BCSBI, together with the Indian Banks' Association (IBA), had brought out a code of bank's commitment to customers, which each member-bank would make available free of cost to each individual customer. ''For the first time, the common man has a 'Charter of Rights' in his possession which he can refer to while dealing with his bank.'' Ms Udeshi said the Code sets out minimum standards for banking practices and services offered by banks to individuals. The existing lack of transparency, coupled with the difficulty of consumers in identifying key information from the large volume of convoluted material and communications, led to an information asymmetry which rendered the banker-customer relationship one of unequals. To achieve the avowed transparency, the code provided for documentation of bank fees and charges in the form of a Tariff Schedule, which was required to be displayed on the bank's website and in each branch.

The cardinal principle of the Code was that all the products and services should be sold to the customer only after obtaining his explicit consent in writing.

She said though BCSBI was still in its nascent statge and the Code had just been released in July last, the RBI Governor had expresseed the need for BCSBI to evolve a separate Business Banking Code to cover small business customers.


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