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The curious case of State Bank of India
By Sanjit Laishram
SBI a regional banking giant and is one of the largest financial institutions in the world. The State Bank of India is the largest of the Big Four banks of India, along with ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank and HDFC Bank-its main competitors. The State Bank of India is also the 29th most reputed company in the world according to Forbes. In addition, SBI is the only bank featured in the coveted “top 10 brands of India” list in an annual survey conducted by Brand Finance and The Economic Times in 2010 and boast of having the highest number of customers among all the commercial banks in India is something to be proud of for the banking giant.
Being the largest bank, State Bank of India Services offers products through its well-managed, efficient and deep-rooted networks like Domestic Treasury, Broking Services, Revised Service Charge, ATM Services, Internet Banking, E-Pay, E-Rail, Safe Deposit Lockers, and Gift Cheques. As a premier banking institute every customers expect quick and efficient service form the bank. On the contrary, SBI branches across the Imphal valley i.e. Imphal Secretariat Branch, Paona Bazaar Branch, MG Avenue Branch, Porompat Branch and MU Campus Branch is marred with technical and staffing problem on a regular basic. This is not expected form an institution like SBI. Wondering, what the condition of the banks would be in far-flung areas?
Daily server problem, issuing of limited number of token for early birds, late opening of branch office from the stipulated schedule time is against Banking Guidelines, Arrogant Staffs greets you when you visit a State Bank of India branch in Imphal. These problems are not a mere one off incident for any customers visiting SBI branches in imphal. To feel and see how the customers are unnecessary harassed by all this issues, one can visit in any of the mention branches on any working day. Right form depositing a few amount of money or withdrawing it is a Herculean task for any ordinary customer. Making a Demand Draft or making a challan in any of the mention braches, one need to have a nerve of steel and the perseverance of the saint in order to get the job done. Never had I seen a staff endorse the old and the weak among the hundred tired customers.
Not to forget the ever idle ATM’s or you can abbreviate the name of the ATM’s in Imphal as All Time Moneyless. In addition, 27*7 banking is a distant dream for the customers except for those internet banking and mobile banking users. The ever-growing number of unsatisfied customers is not a welcome sign for SBI as people can always shift to other better service provider in near future. Wonder how the banking ombudsman would react with the entire shortcoming from a banking institute like SBI. In addition, never had I heard of a banking ombudsman giving justice to all this related issues in our state. Indeed, it is time to forward the grievance directly to Appellate Authority of RBI.
The immediate solution is to open more SBI branches in the neighborhoods with skilled and efficient staff that can cater the demand of the ever-increasing number of customers who want to avail its services. The RBI guidelines to open more bank branches for area whose population is about 25000 needs to be implemented ASAP. Only more number of bank branches will ease the work pressure that is being pilled up at the limited branches, which are available now. Whatever be the matter it is for the management in SBI to look after the public grievances and create an atmosphere to the customers who now hate going to Bank our state to avoid the madness and chaos seen everyday in banking offices across the city. After all this is just a reminder to SBI that the customer is still the king and always will be.