NIrmala Sitharaman has said there is an urgent need to connect with the customers at the branch level.

FM asks public sector lenders to focus on branch-level banking
Money Banking Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 18:46

After having met tax officials across the county, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman now intends to meet with public sector bank officials in different part of the country. In her first such interaction with some bank officials, on the occasion of the launch of EASE 3.0 reforms agenda for public sector banks, she said she has been receiving complaints from the public on the kind of difficulties that they are encountering at the public sector bank branches. She has said there is an urgent need to connect with the customers at the branch level.

One advice she gave the bank officials was to be polite to the customers. Even if the bank is not in a position to lend to a customer, this can be done in a polite manner without being offensive.

Another issue she brought up is that customers claim many branches have staff who do not understand the local language. This, she said, needs to be corrected and wants the bank managements to ensure that at least one employee in each branch understands the local language.

The EASE 3.0 agenda is all about using technology to get closer to the customers. These will include ‘dial-a-loan’ and ‘credit-at-a-click” services. Customers should be able to use the apps on their mobiles to access the public sector banks when they need funds and the banks must be able to respond swiftly and service such needs. The government is asking itself this question, if the private sector can do it why not the public sector?

Boston Consulting Group and the Indian Bank Association (IBA) have jointly prepared a report which has all these suggestions and may be adopted as part of the EASE 3.0 agenda.

Some of the other financial products proposed include EMIs for expenses on holidays, paying school fees and buying jewellery.

There has been a substantial change in the status of the public sector banks after the sustained efforts to recover bad loans. An amount of ₹2.04 lakh crore stands recovered in the first none months of this current financial year alone.

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