Thursday, December 13, 2007

Only 5-10 percent customer opt for passbook facility

Private sector and foreign banks believe in online banking funda for this they have, provided the internet banking, net banking and mobile banking facility to their customers free of cost and if there are charges that are very minimal and are not keen on issuing passbooks. Moreover people are tech savvy and are in a habit of using internet and mobile phones they do most of their transactions through these sources.

But Reserve Bank received several complaints from the customers for not getting the passbook facility. Taking an action on the complaints the central bank issued a circular in October last year and asked banks to offer the passbook facility to their customers.

Though several private and foreign banks have started offering the passbook facility to their customers the response has not been great. Only 5-10 per cent of the customers have opted for the facility.

In view of this Harpreet Singh, business director for wealth management and distribution of loans, Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP said, "We are not seeing good demand for passbooks. While senior citizens are more inclined on getting passbooks, the younger generation prefers statements issued by the bank." The bank offers the passbook facility across all its branches, but only 10-15 per cent of the customers have opted for the same.

Customers do not have to pay any additional charges for getting the passbook it only needs to call up the bank and ask for the same.

Some of banks are also asking customers to choose between a passbook and a statement. HDFC Bank sends mails to saving account customers asking them to a fill a form indicating their choice.

"Customers have to make a choice. They cannot ask for both," said an official from HDFC Bank. According to bank figures only 5 per cent of its customers have opted for passbooks.

Even mid-sized private sector banks like Kotak Mahindra Bank are witnessing little demand for passbooks.

"The younger generation finds it much more convenient to download their statements from the Internet. While we started this facility six months ago, just about 1 per cent of our customers have opted for passbooks," said KVS Manian, group head of retail liabilities & branch banking with Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Currently Axis Bank is offering a passbook as well as a statement to the customers. But as this creates duplication of work, so the bank is planning to discontinue this method shortly.

Manju Srivatsa, senior vice-president, Axis Bank, says the bank is seeing a small amount of people, mainly senior citizens, asking for a passbook. "Just about 5 per cent of our accountholders are keen on passbooks. People who have the time and are willing to go to the bank branch for updating transactions go for it," Srivatsa added.

In public sector banks, there is still a reasonable demand for passbooks. "There are lots of people approaching us for passbooks. The demand for passbooks is more than statements," said an SBI official.

No comments: