Imagine a bank messaging to layman of a client to please activate his “EMV debit card” by a fixed nearing date after which his “old non-chip based card” will be blocked and saying sorry for inconvenience!
Being a helpless and non-literate account holder he is caught unawares, unable to comprehend or understand the intricacies of this so-called technical but indispensable message indeed.
Responding to urgency he dials the helpline of this panic creating bank: “press 1, press 2, press 3, press 4” and so on fast depleting his mobile credits with no response whatsoever.
After a good 45-minute struggle a Phone Banking Officer, non-committed and of a non-serious attitude, attends.
Asking a flurry of thunderbolt-like questions he confuses the client by informing of account blocked for many days but himself got confused saying it was not blocked when the client said that a couple of transactions were made that very day. So casual and careless of a bank!
He asked the client about his latest address so that it is updated in 3-4 working days for him to receive his “EMV debit card” at home for him to activate it by himself. Very tough ask for a non-literate and jittery account holder to pursue.
This is just one small example of a big story the baffled account holders of many of our branded public and private sector banks face as from top down- the-management line, these banks are locked in the vicious circle of the set and standard but hapless and helpless agonies for the common or non-literate account holders.
Seeing is believing and experiencing is confirming that clients encounter on and off the counter woes mostly pertaining to snags at account opening and withdrawal by cheque, faulty ATM machines with repairs and delays, immobilizing and procrastinating management and staff, one or two staffers overloaded and accountable and rest casual from breakfast at office, sipping tea, strolling and bossing around good for nothing.
With such a state of value-subtracting private and public sector banks, the very question of national savings and resource mobilization hangs in balance as barring a handful of rich or opulent, the overwhelming majority of our non-literate population is dreaded or shy away helplessly from savings and investment.
Is it not a priority of our banking planners, gurus and management to rise over and above self and ego, sit together in harmony, devise and innovate simpler banking solutions for their baffled clients and customers in the larger interest of Pakistan, including that of their own as innovators and contributors to resource mobilization and national economy?
The writer contributes to media on national and international affairs.