Sunday, November 07, 2010

State Bank Of India

SBI, even though it is the largest bank in India, never inspired me enough to open an account with them. Every time I heard this acronym SBI, all I could think was the Slowest Bank Of India rather that its actual expansion, State Bank Of India. But I was in for a surprise, when I went to open a savings account recently. I had already mentally prepared myself for a long haul, running across different counters, filling out numerous forms and all those classic red-tape things, that one could expect at a PSU. But things were different this time around and I soon was to find that out.

As I enter the branch, I notice a gentleman greeting me with a gentle smile on his face "Hello Sir, How are you ?? How can I help you ??" I told him, I am in for opening an account. He offered me a chair and handed over a one-page form to me. As I was filling this form, I enquired about the mandatory documents. The gentleman said "Sir, all we require for your account is an identity proof and an address proof". I said "I have a Passport and a Ration-Card, will that be enough ??". Gentleman replied in affirmation and handed over another 4-page form to me and instructed me to fill in all relevant details. After about 10 minutes, I submitted my form to him, he duly checked all the details and said "We are done with form-filling and documents verification, now just pay 1100 Rs at cash-counter and collect all your details like Debit-Card, PIN, Cheque-Book at New Accounts Section Counter No ..".

Before he could finish his line, I interrupted him "How about a guaranteer ?? Is not that also required for opening an account@SBI ??" The gentleman replied "Those were the days, Sir !! We don't mandate a guaranteer for new accounts any more" I said to myself "WoW". Since I didn't knew anyone having an account in this branch, this was a huge relief for me.

I am sure, not just for me, this must be a welcome sign for anyone willing to open an account in SBI. Otherwise, you would have to literally beg in front of other account-holders, that you could spot in the bank at that time, to become a guaranteer for you. I had to show off my identity card that I work for so and so company, all my certificates, xeroxes supported by originals, that I am not a terrorist by any stretch of imagination. And even then, guaranteers were hard to find. If you are lucky, you may very well find a generous fella, if not you may have to run across many of them, before anyone of them agrees to become a guaranteer for you.

After this I moved on to the cash-counter. It took me another 5 minutes to complete the formalities at the cash-counter. I filled a cash-deposit form, took a token and waited for my turn. In almost no time, my turn had come(here again my prejudice had recommended me to wait, wait patiently for a long time, after all it was a "Sarkari Bank", but I was again proven wrong by this new avatar of SBI).

After I paid 1100 Rs at cash-counter, I walked across to "New Accounts Section" and showed them my account-opening-form along with the payment-slip. The lady there  at the counter asked me to produce the originals. I promptly took out all originals from my folder and showed it to her. She verified all the details provided against the same and offered her hands for a handshake "Congrats !! You are now an SBI customer ?? After the hand-shake, she handed me over an envelope and informed "Sir, you will be receiving your Passbook after 3-4 days. I opened the envelope, it consisted of almost everything that a new-account-holder would want, an ATM card, its PIN, a cheque book,a mobile banking pin etc. I was amazed with this show, put up by SBI employees. All it took me was mere 15 minutes to open an account with a Sarkari Bank, WoooooW !!

Way to go SBI, you impressed me and won my heart many times over. In a span of 15 minutes, my notion of SBI being a Slowest Bank Of India changed to a Superfast Bank Of India !! It will be some time, before we can call them as a Supreme Bank Of India in terms of agility and nimbleness, but its definitely changing, changing for the good, not only for itself, but also for all its customers.

I wish BSNL could also adopt similar attitude for its broadband operations(not many of us would be interested in their landlines and mobile-connections any way). I heard it offers the best internet in terms of connectivity, speed and reliability, but only if you manage to get one :-)

1 comment:

Shyam Saket said...

To compete with the rivals SBI changes its positioning strategy not only in metros but also in rurals,I am saying the same asI faced the same treatment from SBI in my home town..I am waiting for ur mature thoughts on Obama visit,Jiabaos visit to india and also the recent break in JV of hero-honda .