The major reforms in Indian Banking space, of course after nationalisation of 14 Banks in 1969, was based on the recommendations of Narasimhan Committee (1991). Important initiatives, such as putting in place the concept of new accounting and prudential norms relating to Income Recognition, Provisioning and Capital adequacy in line with international banking practices, were taken.
The norms for entry of private and foreign banks were also relaxed. Consequently, a paradigm shift in the functioning of Indian banks started taking place thereby necessitating adoption of technology as the main enabler of tomorrow's banking. Naturally, the entry of new generation banks in the Indian banking market with state-of- art technology, compelled the PSU banks also to fall in line to take care of efficient management of its liabilities, assets, capital and ever growing risks.
IT initiatives aimed at achieving two main differentiating service standards in country's banking and they have been: a) Connectivity and Communication; and b) Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).
We know that the protagonists of greater use of technology in Banks underline its need for ensuring delivery of lower cost, more secured and reliable, and more flexible options for developing products and services as per the changing requirements. So, today we are face to face with the technology driven and technology dependent banking which promises to let the customer experience the pleasure of Anywhere, Anytime, Convenience Banking. But, then why we often ask nagging questions about:
1. Status of CBS (Core Banking Solution) Banking
By and large, one should feel ok with the level of convenience provided by CBS system. But do you have any idea about the connectivity problem being faced by the users of this high cost IT initiative? Putting a play card of 'NO LINK' on service counters has become order of the day, maybe for the full day or for intermittent period. Sometimes, the bank branch put their shutter down without transacting any business throughout the day. The customers of semi-urban and rural branches are the worst hit in this regard.
2. ATM Working
Reasonably, yes. But, many a times one faces the problem of non-functional ATMs, issues related to failed transactions, ATM frauds and ATMs dispensing unclean notes (despite the much talked about 'Clean Note Policy' of RBI). Notwithstanding, these negative features of ATM banking, the top executives of banks claim that ATMs have made all the difference as it’s a 24x7 banking.
3. Promised services of Credit/Debit Cards
It is undoubtedly a heartening fact that credit and debit cards usage has increased many-fold due to its inherent benefits, but it is equally disheartening that complaints related to this facility is one of the highest as far as banking service complaints are concerned. The cyber-crime related to this growing segment is also becoming a cause of concern and have the potential of posing serious risk to the banks as well.
Yes, the impact of these disconnects between promises and actual delivery is that the customers now tend to either desert their primary banks or exercise option of banking with multiple banks.
So, it's time to pause, ponder, and review the areas of disconnects to end it fast for ensuring better banking experiences in days ahead.
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.