Business Today

Read before you sign...

That’s what bankers are telling customers after an RBI report shows a rise in complaints against banks.

twitter-logoAnand Adhikari | Print Edition: November 29, 2009

The number of complaints from aggrieved bank customers may have shot up over the last 12 months, but bankers themselves don’t see a worrying trend in this. Many of them blame technology and failure of customers to read the fine print.

The Reserve Bank of India report on the Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2008-09 shows that the number of complaints has gone up by 44 per cent in 2008-09, with most of them directed at public sector banks. Private banks, too, received complaints relating to credit cards, failed commitments and pension accounts.

Bank officials say most banks have increased their loan books manifold in the past 4-5 years, leading to a growth in complications and, therefore, complaints.

Says Ramnath Pradeep, ED, Central Bank: “Technology plays an instrumental role, too. Customers tend to get impatient if a process takes longer than expected because of technical snags.” The complaints also soared as banks became tough about payments, using clauses in their agreements. Complaints also arise because of contractual obligations which a customer enters into with a bank at the time of taking a loan, adds a senior bank official on condition of anonymity.

So, what should one do? Read the fine print before you sign, say bankers. Will customers be satisfied with this answer?

  • In 2008-09, a total of 69,117 complaints were filed against banks, up from 47,887 in 2007-08.
  • PSU banks received more complaints but those against private and foreign banks rose by nearly 80 per cent.
  • The RBI report says a major challenge is to meet the credit demand without impairing credit quality.
  • Banks have been told to monitor their credit portfolios in the context of persisting high growth in credit.
  • Bankers say inflated loan books and technologyrelated issues to blame for rising complaints.

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