Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal
With a lot of uncertainty and lack of direction in the Indian banking sector in 2011, more so on regulatory front, the services are expected to improve, as banks tend to become customer centric. The bankers have started feeling the need provide prompt and better services to its all segments of customers, both in private and public sector. Customers too look to banks now for safer investment and financial help. The recent fallout of various multi level marketing companies, investment in non – banking companies and chit fund companies in state, people are now inclined to move back to banks.
The largest bank of the state, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur with its 900 plus branch network majority of which are in Rajasthan continues to be a pioneer banking service provider. Its banking services have over time and now particularly, become customer and investor friendly, innovative and customized.
While savings bank rate have been deregulated in India since April 2011, the banks generally offer four percent interest rate. While some private sector banks do offer 6 or even 7 percent, this state bank group bank has launched an innovative product known as ready money deposit scheme offering a much higher rate on deposit of more than a week to six months. You can now earn an interest of as high as 8.5 percent for deposit between seven days and 180 days. This would, however, be available only to customers or depositors parking Rs. 50 lakhs or more in such deposits. It also ensures high liquidity as there is no penalty for premature withdrawal.
The bank offers host of other customer friendly services such as online banking, net banking, e-trade, e-payment of all types of taxes, e-stock trading etc. Jaipur customers are soon going to get a new high net worth individuals branch (HNI) wherein customers will get royal treatment and experience better than the world class personalized banking experience. This HNI branch, to be opened in next few days is going to be first such branch of any bank in the state. The accounts are expected to be opened by invitation and service shall include all types of banking services under the sun where a customer could dream of.
While Reserve Bank is prioritizing on bank’s reaching to rural masses and lending more to small and medium enterprises, SBBJ’s reach in remote villages is also commendable. This will further get a boost when all banks including SBBJ go in for banking correspondent model. This will not only encourage financial inclusion but also educate rural people and help inculcates banking habit.
The risk to which banks are exposed are also rising, more so in advances. There are pressures on quality of assets and profitability but this bank compares favorably with other banks, mainly due to its internal due diligence and visionary management.
The key to good banking lies not in hardware or software but the most important tool in banking services – human ware. It is expected (and hoped) that with necessary skill up gradation and training tools, we all can look forward to a better banking experience in times to come.