October 10, 2007

ICICI banking...Shoddy banking

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You would have thought that after the privatisation of banks in India, we would say goodbye to those long, sweaty queues under a fan that could fall on your head anytime (if there was a fan over your head, that is). Now, you can sit in the comfort of your air-conditioned home or office and waste 3 hours trying to get your problem across the thick head of an incoherent customer care executive.

ICICI Bank is the perfect example. They do a great job of frustrating the hell out of you and you end up actually missing the 'good' old days in fits of insanity. To cite the latest such incident, I had to visit an ICICI Bank branch for an account statement in print. I was there at 9am but had to change three counters because their systems and printers were not up and running. This, for a bank which is supposed to start the day at 8am - I am glad I didnt go earlier.

To make things worse, they are actually charging me 100 bucks plus taxes for that print-out on measly computer paper. I mean, in an age where the cost of banking is going up, you at least expect some perks - but dont expect it from ICICI. They charge you for every little thing and sometimes things that you dont fully understand, like quarterly average balance. Hell, why cant they tell you a fixed amount?

The only saving grace about the bank is its website which is more efficient than all its customer care executives put together. But anything that goes offline becomes a nightmare. Once, my internet account was blocked due to a wrong entry and it took three months of harassing and being harassed to get a new password.

Only recently, on a call with an ICICI exec, I was told that I had to go to my ICICI branch because they hadnt updated my personal details. If they expect me to do that, they can keep expecting.

On the other hand, I also deal with Axis Bank and they have a decent customer care system. In fact, I rarely need to call customer care because they rarely goof up. They send me an SMS for every bank charge and keep me posted through quarterly statements, without my having to ask or pay for them.