A win-win model for banks & customers

As banks have revised their tariffs sharply upwards for customer transactions, it has created furore amongst customers who consider the charges to be excessive.

If Banks believe that it costs them to provide these services and hence need to be passed on to the customers, let us accept it on principle. Having said that, there needs to be a sense of fairness and equity in charging for these services.

I propose the model of “Annualizing the count of transactions as basis of charging”

  1. For example, if upto 4 ATM Transactions there are no charges, then Banks must agree to 48 ATM Transactions in a financial year without any charge. For example, even if a customer uses an ATM (let’s assume same bank ATM for simplicity) 10 times in a month, he should not be charged until he crosses 48 ATM transactions in the entire year.
  2. Likewise, for cash deposits. If customers can deposit cash 3 times in a month without any charge, then they should be allowed to do so without any charge 36 times in a year.
  3. And the customers must have the facility to know the count of their ATM (own bank/other bank), cash deposit transactions till date.  That way, they can plan ahead and not be surprised when they face the charges for exceeding.

Corollary to the above:

  • If a customer is unable to withdraw cash in an ATM because the ATM did not have any money, that should not    be counted as a Transaction for the purpose of the charges.
  • Likewise, if a customers checks his balance prior to withdrawal in the same session, that should be treated as just 1 ATM Transaction.

Can we now have a discussion?


How to exchange your 500 & 1000 notes

By this time, all of us are aware of the blitzkrieg move of the Modi Sarkar to demonetise the 500 & 1000 rupee notes and so I am not going to elaborate on that.  Enough has been said and written.  So let’s get down to business

I will share a step-by step process to get your 500 & 1000 notes exchanged in a bank. Currently, you can get upto Rs4000 exchanged in a day by this process.

  1. Please carry the original and photocopy of your id proof.  the accepted proof are Aadhar, Driving license, Voter ID, Passport, NREGA card, PAN Card or any identity card issued by govt dept psu to its staff.  (I am not sure if ration card is an accepted proof because it is not mentioned)
  2. At the bank, you will be given a form like this 5001000form
  3. Fill up this form in full. Collect this form at the entrance.  This is only for exchange and not for deposit.
  4. Also add the serial numbers of the notes you are surrendering in the form.
  5. Give this form with the photocopy of the id proof & show the original id to the staff.  On  the photocopy also write the amount, the purpose and sign before giving id card xerox to banks. This way you can avoid unscrupulous managers/staff using your id for someone else’s exchange. (updated)
  6. If you have an account in that branch/bank, write down the account number and also your mobile number in this form. (At the ICICI Bank branch where I got my money exchanged, there was a separate counter for account holders and non-account holders. the process however is the same)
  7. Once the staff has authenticated the form, the proof and the numbers of the notes, the form is stamped and signed and then given back to you
  8. You can then take the form and the notes to the teller counter where they will give you the amount in 100’s or 50’s depending upon their stock.  This particular branch had only 50’s and so I got a fistful of 50 rupee notes when i came out.  My wallet was so fat and I felt so happy

Overall, the process was smooth and I got my money in about 10 minutes.

Some disclaimers:

a. I am not sure if the same process is applicable in a post office, though

b.  I’m not sure if the tenderer has to come in person or if they will accept it from someone else.



There are still Professionals around

During my recent week-long visit to Mumbai, I had fixed a few appointments and a couple of my prospects suggested that I call them once I am there to fix a suitable appointment.

One meeting took unexpectedly longer than I anticipated and it was getting too close for the next meeting which was at least about 30 minutes away by taxi.  I called up the person I am to meet and asked for a deferred meeting. Despite being the CEO of the organization, he was very gracious to ask me if an hour later would be fine and when I confirmed, he gave the time.  And when I reached his office, he heard my pitch and immediately put me onto his colleague to take it further.  He did not have to give a second appointment and likewise he could have ended our meeting with a formal “Someone will get in touch with you shortly”.  The second meeting was very productive partly because I was talking to the right person and also because he was open given that the meeting was arranged by his boss.

I am reminded of yet another meeting where I should have gone with my laptop to give a demo but didn’t.  I apologized for the lapse and requested a second appointment the next day and this person, again a very senior manager in a bank, checked his calendar and without any fuss agreed for the time I had requested.  And when I went the next day, he had organized his team to be present and waved off my apologies for the lapse on the previous day.

While both these professionals responded to my request admirably, I am about to share an incident where one of my prospects took the initiative.  We had scheduled a meeting at 9:30 am the next day and around 6 pm I get a call from him saying that he has been scheduled for an important meeting at the same time and asked to reschedule sometime in the evening.  Not only did he call but he had also earlier sent a SMS (in full words, which is again a rarity) explaining his situation.  We had a fruitful meeting the next evening.


I cannot but contrast these with ones that we are familiar with.  An executive had given a time on the last day of my visit and as is my habit, I called in the previous evening to confirm the appointment.  He mentioned that he was leaving for Delhi at that time and will not be there until the weekend, oblivious of the fact that we had agreed on a meeting.  And then there was another, who again, when I called to confirm said that he was busy and that he will call with a different appointment and never did.

I guess we meet all kinds of people but professionals really leave a lingering fragrance of the interaction

Nobody needs any business

It is so surprising that considering how much business spends in promoting its products through ads, most people do not want business.  In fact, many people go to the extent of even spurning business that comes their way.

And it is not public sector alone that reacts this way but also entrepreneurs and private enterprises.  I recently had an experience of calling a private bank in response to their ad in a leading business newspaper seeking their FD forms.  I got the forms but they were meant for existing customers which I was not.  When i tried calling them again, they had switched the cell phone off.  And when i managed to track their branch, the concerned person said that he will have the relevant forms sent across immediately.

2 days passed but no sight of the forms.  And when I called them up, one executive had the temerity of asking me to confirm our address so that they could send the forms.  fortunately they had my address right with them but were sitting tight on that, for reasons best known to them.

With this attitude, why bother spending on ads at all? 

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