Is Banking Industry promoting Entrepreneurs? – An ICICI Experience
We are all troubled by phone calls from Credit Card company executives who want to meet their targets and call us for a credit card. My friend currently faced an issue with Kotak Credit Card who called and was telling me that I have a credit card in an insulting tone and he was coercing him to say that he had a Credit Card which he didn’t and insulted him for not having a credit card. He felt like it was scam call and kept the phone down. I didn’t take much notice of that, but currently I faced an issue with a bank who to meet their targets have been harassing me to achieve their goals, but lacking in providing the required service when we are in urgency.
The incident happened in the ICICI bank Hennur Branch in Bengaluru. Recently, I have started my own business in Digital Marketing, and I had registered and received my GST number for doing digital & affiliate marketing as the companies like Facebook & Amazon are insisting for GST number for promotions. Post getting the GST number, I had been to ICICI bank, Hennur Branch to give my details to open an account. This Branch is small, and most of the employees are known to me as my mother who runs a furniture store has a current account as well as she is a privilege customer there. I had been to the branch before deposit cheques on behalf of my mother.
Personally, I feel the manager of the branch irritating. When we have customers at our furniture shop, he approaches us to deposit money in his branch. For a reputed bank like ICICI, this is stooping low to harass us at our business place. We also have a reputation to keep with our customers. Our business is a highly competitive with thin margins. We have a current account with the bank for the shop and deposit the money that is made and would not be able to deposit further.
Since my parents trust the bank and to maintain the minimum balance in the current account. I had borrowed Rs.50,000 from my father’s retired earnings and deposited it into my savings account for opening a current account.
On 15th of December, a relationship manager from icici bank hennur branch was assigned to open my Digital Marketing current account. I was interacting with him for the first time. Even before, I could sit down to open the account, he asked if I had money to start an current account which I had to give a cheque for opening from my savings account, it put me off as I just deposited the money. I had shown him the deposit slip about the money deposited, The relationship manager told me that the account will be verified and activated within 3 days and since it was a Friday. I thought the account will be activated by the following Friday. Again before leaving the branch, he verified whether if I had the funds to maintain minimum balance amount.
To my amazement, it has been 11 days and account has not been verified or activated. Almost every single day, I had been to the branch to inquire about the verification, and they confirmed that verification will be completed the same day. For entire 11 days no further updates.
I got irritated by Christmas and on 26th of December, I decided to cancel/stop the cheque given to the hennur branch via mobile banking and decided to open another account in a different ICICI Branch. After talking to the executives at Thanisandra branch, they informed me that the very next day, they will come to verify and take all my documents from the place of business.
By this time, the same night the relationship manager assigned to me from Hennur branch came for verification and kept asking if I had funds to maintain a minimum balance. I told him I would give him another cheque if needed. I was aware of the cheque being canceled. It was my conscious decision to check the level of service as I was going to have a long-term business relationship. They say the First impression is the best impression but the first impression was not worthwhile. I waited for him to respond to the canceled cheque. He hadn’t returned to me regarding canceled, and it is when I understood the level of service, ICICI Bank provides. I had to call to him to ask about an update regarding my account. I gave him a new cheque around 3 pm the same evening and waited patiently. Three days later I get a call from him saying my signature was wrong in the form which I had signed for opening the account a fortnight ago. He came and took it.
I had waited for another 4 days, so I decided to go a new branch at Kamanahalli icici, I had asked to open my new account. This was due to sheer desperation from my side as I had a client in waiting who wanted to take up my services, but since I haven’t got a current account, it was delayed. The client was not willing to work with a freelancer and wanted a current account in the agreement. The same procedure followed at the third branch also. Due to the delays by the bank for 20+ days, I had lost my client and an opportunity to grow my business. The level of service was pathetic.
This was not over yet after I had lost my client, the Hennur Branch manager had called me to say that the account verification is under process and had requested me to visit the branch. Once I had reached the branch, they coerced me to sign a form telling that the delay is due to mismatch of the details. The mismatch of the details was not communicated to me. Again, I signed the form out of sheer desperation for the account to open to get on with my business. I am now stuck in the process of bank verifications and is not able to approach any new clients for projects until I have a current account to work with.
The Government of the day is encouraging the youngsters of India to start their own business, but the hurdles in the Banking Sector is making it difficult for entrepreneurs. My parents are longtime ICICI privilege customers, and if I am getting this sort of treatment, I am afraid of the others who are interested in coming into the business. The minimum balance maintenance, the verification procedures, the dismal service coupled with branch managers and executives begging customers to put the money into the account to achieve their targets is hurting the trust in banks. Like a rotten cherry on top, after 20+ days and visiting 3 branches, losing a business opportunity, I do not have an update on my account status and remains unverified & unopened.