Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bold initiatives for better banking experience

When I went to the Citi Union Bank to deposit a small amount into an account at their Kumbakonam branch, I was surprised that the same could be done without using any credit challan. A handheld machine, similar to the card swiping machine is offered and the remitter is required to key in the account number and after verifying the name the amount is accepted by the attending staff. The receipt given is similar to the charge slip emanating from the card machine. Amazing that the whole transaction took only few minutes by what is known as 'Xpress Desk' banking.

No doubt a laudable thought process, cutting down the traditional process of filling up the challan including the denomination and stand before the queue at the cashier, who counts it atleast twice , brands a stamp and above a certain amount the credit paid in challan will also be countersigned by another official. I was informed that upto 49000 could be remitted in such a way !

But the bank will also do well to cover some of the potential risks:

1. Remitter's details are neither sought nor recorded anywhere and if required, the remitter cannot be traced. This could create problems for people in sensitive posts by making mischievous credits into their account.

2. No denomination is entered anywhere. In case of differences, counterfeit notes etc., tracing will be next to impossible, putting the bank staff to greater risk.

3. The charge slip like acknowledgement on the thermal paper may fade away soon. In the growing disregard of passbook practice, this could be risky for customers.

4. Newer avenues of corruption and black money conversion could be derived in course of time making use of the dropped security veil.

While the bank's efforts at innovative ways to cut down the waiting time at the banking hall is noteworthy, the bank would also do well to plug such potential trouble spots. Despite these apparent shortcomings , the bank must be applauded for taking some bold and innovative steps while the traditional pioneers in banking , under the protective National cover are still dragging their feet, even for minor steps that could facilitate better service to customers. 

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