Banking Article, Banking Finance 2020, Banking Finance June 2020

How to deal with new challenges in Banking : Mergers and corona-virus.

New dawn from 1st April with full of challenges are sure to bring structural benefits and allow these robust entities to become flag bearers for Indian economy and padded up customers.  Foremost, it would be ideal if along with good customer service focus is placed on creating goodwill too. Taking preventive measures   by branches by providing masks and liquid soap sachets across customers touch points and service facility tables to safeguard health and safety in light of coronavirus outbreak would go a long way in reconnecting new customers of merged banks. It would be beneficial to develop 360 degree vehicle of merged banks and display new charges, interest rates, and toll free numbers for senior citizens, pension payment dates, the names and addresses of closed branches and direction to now new branches with addresses for the new customers of merged banks. Again, showcasing on 360 degree vehicle new contact numbers for assistance and new RMs for large corporates and MSMEs would positively make customers comfortable by creating an atmosphere of ease of doing business. Further, it would help customer take a virtual tour of the merged entity. Small hiccups in short term which will be surely handled gracefully would set the excellent example of better governance. There is good number of innovative and simple steps which could be practiced by the new merged entity branch which would help it have smooth transaction. A thought could be given in educating customers visiting branch to set their anxiety at rest. One of the most important pain points would be would be locker facility and customers having lockers need to be adjusted as in near branch lockers to that extant may not be available as the cost of maintaining the premises are positively high. Could a new locker cabinet in the branch where locker a.c. holders will be shifted would be arranged to accommodate new entities. IFSC code for each branch has a specific number  used in cheque book  as these cheque books may not be of any use and customers may have given this branch IFSC code to many parties they have been dealing for a long. Educating customers on regular basis for some time would be win win situation for both the parties. A small meeting with customers explaining the need to consolidate   the branches if any   with mergers of banks would have good sense of belonging.  RBI has exclusive circular for taking care of senior citizens and that could be mutually shared and discussed with the senior citizens of the branch with update knowledge of progress of merger. With the new beginning, new branch and invitation with a smile by   new consolidated   entity branch head and staff would have customers satisfied and happy going back. Podcasts in regional language briefly enumerating the need for consolidation of banks being need of the hour  would earn brownie points for the branch. The present branch thanking the customers for their continued support could be shared with the customers. For some time a pop up could show up on screen when these new customers  visit now their new branch to be taken with a little extra care as now these would be dealing with new branch staff in new premises. This would surely cement the relationship for a long time.

In banking history we had all kind of crises but vicious and bewildering  shock of this magnitude  which could  bring to life the severe-case economic scenarios we had fortunately not  faced. Banking services are the life lines of economy   and need to beat at all time. Well created defenses as virus scare is knocking at our door would not only will prepare us in advance to handle on deadly new virus but ensure   we do not fall further behind. It would be in the fitness of things if bankers are advised to use masks while dealing with customers. Having compulsory sanitizers in bathrooms for staff and customers would be of a great help. Clearing houses need to be sanitized on regular basis as cheques images from all over the places reach there. The digital push on all kind of banking transactions would obviate the supply of cash and help prevent customers touching currency notes. Jawboning cleaning staff to ensure sitting sofas, chairs in branch premises, toilets, cash counters, currency carrying boxes are whipped regularly to prevent infections. We need to take full care of mints printing currency notes and this need to present pristine look.  Special instructions to merchants by banks for ensuring EDC and point of sales machines are unsoiled and placed in hygienic conditions are important Steps to Stem Coronavirus Damage.Nevertheless, this will stave off an immediate banking crisis at an early stage of economic damage of the coronavirus on the banks.

 As the merger follows there are whole lot of issues, guidelines, emerging striking issues and ever changing digital banking landscape and where customers are no longer standing in queue in the brick and mortar branch but on the mobile from unknown place for quick solution to their problems.  It becomes all the more deceive when it is related to unwanted debit digital entry in their accounts. Sooner and later digital banking is going to in the hands of the customers.  It is imperative to note senior citizens and rural populace is now comfortable having graduated from whatsapp apprenticeships. For new merged banks whether it is spending money on brick and mortar, land and staff and computers, server room or diving deep by investing in technology and innovations, it is a million dollar question. With banking licenses for well deserved entity on the tap and exciting banking digital bandwagon on the go one has to look at the life cycle  of customer  who  starts when the customer steps in on bank’s digital portal and once one opens the account through video kyc   then it is going  to be digital services happily after.  It is no brainier digital bank and friendly technology driven new merged bank is going to be taking all the goodies. Look over the shoulder in cybercafe of small town in adjoining PC seat the ordinary looking village young man is getting all the price details of grains, spices, pulses and agriculture commodities. He is on the Skype on his phone cracking a deal and at the same time checking agriculture derivative/ commodities on computer screen. And a young construction worker sitting in cybercafé of small town in a different state finalizing to go for work in related industry in another state giving interview on Skype or seeking work in far off smart city. It is going to be a new dawn for merged banks.

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