Are banks customer-friendly?
When we incorporated the company, many top banks approached us for opening current accounts with them. After scrutinising their applicable terms, we decided to open our Corporate Current Account with ICICI Bank. Their responses on account opening formalities were quick and prompt. But, is that sufficient when the services are not up to expectation?
There were many flaws with the bank and notably, we were tired to get the things done with repeated chase-ups. We understand that there can be delays for genuine reasons in attending our requests, but definitely we cannot admit that there is no progress at their end, which really affects our functionality.
Apparently, the banks employ many junior-level trainees who are unable to answer our queries even on basic necessities. Sometimes, they even throw wrong commitments without knowing their internal formalities and later come back with many surprises.
Let us quote a few problems that we had faced with the bank:
a) No ‘Welcome Kit’:
Firstly, ICICI bank does not issue “Welcome Kit” for the account being opened. If we have to know the account details, we need to take it direct from the cheque book. Being a modern bank, ICICI should inform through a formal letter the details about the account name, number, branch etc. When enquired, we were informed that they will issue this letter only when we request through a letter signed by the Authorised Signatories. Even this information also was not passed on to us properly.
b) No ‘Relationship Manager’:
There is no dedicated person to answer our queries. The executive who met us at the first stage informed that there will be a relationship manager to our account, provided if the account is opened under the category of “ICICI Gold” for which we will have to maintain Rs. 100,000 as the average quarterly balance. But, after the account was opened, we were suddenly informed that it will take few months to appoint a manager and there were no clear response when questioned about the same.
c) Debit Card delivery:
Debit Card was not received in time. Customer care executive informed that the courier has been sent but it would take 10 days to reach us. No idea how a courier can take 10 days’ of time from Mumbai to Chennai.
d) Confusion in ‘PIN’ generation:
No clear instructions from the bank about generating the PIN for the same. Every time we enquired, we get a different response.
e) Foreign Inward Remittance Details:
Swift details for receiving monies from abroad were sought from the bank, but they were unable to send the details immediately. After repeated reminders, we got the mail details, but they sent us in a collapsed format, from which we were not able to pick up the details we needed for our clients to initiate the wire the transfer.
f) Online Transaction Facility:
When we filled in the application, we opted for online transfer facility. But, it was not enabled when the account was opened. When enquired we were informed (of course, after many calls) that there is another application that needs to be filled up (which could have happened at the first shot if informed).
g) Change in format of request letter:
Transfer facility was enabled, but only for transfers between ICICI to non-ICICI Bank account holders. When we asked to enable ICICI to ICICI accounts, they asked to issue us another request letter. We issued the same, but was informed later that at least one ICICI account holder to be assigned for transfer. So, we changed the letter and issued. Again, we were informed that we need to scan the letter and mail it to corporate care division. We got a response that the letter should be in their specific format. So, we issued another letter in their format. Then they informed us that it should be signed by all the authorized signatories. Point is, if the officials are able to explain the procedures clearly at the first instance, we could have avoided the delays, efforts and waste of time.
h) Salary Savings Account for employees:
While few other banks were ready to offer salary accounts for whatever headcount we had, we did not show interest considering the reasons like no adequate ATMs, no branch in Madurai, heavy charges for transactions etc. We wanted both the corporate current account and staff salary accounts to be with ICICI Bank so that the salary / reimbursement credits can happen quickly being the same bank. Hence, we enquired with the concerned official with whom we spent long time to explain what we expect of them.
The first problem on this is the volume, that is, the number of salary accounts that can be opened. ICICI insisted for a minimum of 20 accounts. We explained that being a start-up company, we have only about 11 now and hence, cannot open 20 accounts but assured that it would cross 20 numbers soon. But, our request was rejected saying inadequate head-count numbers.
Meanwhile, we tried to enquire at Madurai where our branch office is located. It was so difficult to find the concerned person. Then we got someone who also confirmed that they could not open accounts for less than 20 numbers.
After severe explanation, they were okay in opening the salary accounts for our staff. We finished all the documentary formalities immediately. We were informed that it would take 3 working days to generate the Company Code and only thereafter our staff can fill in the respective applications. We waited for 10 working days, but no favorable response from the bank. The officer with whom we interacted said the code is in processing stage. But the official who is the concerned person to authorize generating the code said he has not received our documents at all.
All the above-mentioned problems faced with ICICI Bank really disappointed us and we thought something needs to be done immediately and not to allow these flaws to continue anymore.
Then, we thought we could give a last try. We approached the Manager of the Chennai branch where we maintain our account. We explained all the problems, made him understand the practical problems that we face with the bank, what remedies we expect of and that if our requests are not attended to, we will have no option except to close our corporate current account but would definitely bring the matter to all the higher officials concerned. He seems to be a nice gentleman and assured that he will resolve all the issues by himself.
With his support, the issues are sorted out and he serves to be our point of contact for all our requirements.