Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Tale of Two Banks

Among nationalized Indian banks, only SBI has been able to match the quality of service provided by banks like ICICI, HDFC and the other multi-nationals. I spent 2 years at IIT ruing the fact the we had to forcibly bank with Canara bank. So this one experience in Bangalore was as much astonishing as it was refreshing.

I had to get a DD to pay for Karnataka state road tax. I headed off to the nearest ICICI branch (couldn't do it online, needed it immediately), asked a neat tie-wala fellow there for which queue to stand in for a DD, stood in that suffocated little enclosure (their AC was down) for about 10 minutes - just to find that my DD could not be made. Dunno whether their systems were down or there was a network issue - all I was told was the DD process may not get complete, do I want to risk it? The ATMs were down too, couldn't even withdraw cash and get the DD done at some other bank.

Then I went into a nearby PNB branch, its ATM worked fine. No suit-ties, no AC but it was spacious, fans were all round, it was confortably cool. I deposited the amount at the cash counter and was waiting for my DD. Ahead of me in the DD process queue was a labourer boy who was sending about 10000 rupees home through a DD. When the bank officials saw that he was sending a DD to another PNB account, they summoned him and explained to him the electronic funds transfer facility, that he did not need to get a DD, post it, have his folks cash it there and instead just get the money transferred there in 10 minutes. He was very skeptical but they patiently allayed all his fears, convinced him to his satisfaction, and transfered the amount he had paid (10000 plus the 42 rs charges) to the recipient account.

I had to wait, but never before my wait was so pleasant.

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