Recent economic meltdown have sprung a strange phenomenon in Himachal Pradesh. It is the public sector banks which score in terms of services in the state.
Private banks in Himachal have to learn a lot from their sarkari counterparts. Initially the private banks scored over with their technological supremacy but PSU banks have caught up and are now offering better services than the private ones. HDFC bank on the Mall has one of the worst services I have come across. The bank staff is untrained especially the people manning the counters. They have no knowledge about the work they seem to be doing. My blood pressure reaches a new high every time I have to deal with this branch.
Upon entering the bank is a girl making a sales pitch without introducing herself whether she is an employee of the bank and starts her sales talk for an insurance or a mutual fund. Just like the way you have agents coaxing you in front of the GPO. This is a big turn-off. I remember once I visited this branch, there were no pay-in slips!! One had to fill up the photocopied slips twice. Surely not the best way a private bank should function. Speaks poorly on the management of this branch. The Mall branch needs to pull up its socks and at least give orientation to the staff properly.
No problems with ICICI though but yes the hum hain na factor too is missing. Speaking of melt down, I am still not convinced about the “all is well with the bank” chorus being dished out by the FM and lately by King Khan. The bank seems to be concealing more than it has revealed. ICICI bank’s reputation for aggression is well known. Since the meltdown started, Union Bank and IDBI bank (both PSU) started overnight a big campaign to woo customers. Did the banks knew about the storm in advance?
Among PSU banks, the bank which still seems to live in the golden era of PSU dadagiri is the Central Bank at the Lift. Nothing has changed in this branch in the past 17 years (post liberalization) The staff still treats its customer as jerks and no matter whatever your urgency is, the staff takes it’s damn sweet time to finish your mundane chore.
SBI and PNB have amazingly improved their services and with their vast reach in rural Himachal, are a great boon for fellow Himachalis. In my village, SBI and PNB are connected to the national servers through broadband and have a back up through V-Sat. Pretty impressive I must say!! One bank which has missed the technological revolution is the state co-operative bank. They also have a good base in rural Himachal but absence of online banking services will ultimately hamper its growth.
Private Banks need to re-invent themselves as the technology factor has faded away. Surprisingly, NOW they need to tell their employees to smile first!!!