Even as banks adopted technology in the decade gone by, the envisaged benefits were yet to reach the customers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Wednesday.
“Adoption of technology has changed the face of the sector, which can be seen in the various transformational developments of the recent past. The benefits of technology are, however, not commensurate with the developments,” RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty said in the annual report for the banking ombudsman scheme for 2009-10.
According to the report, due to an increase in customer awareness, the number of complaints under the ombudsmen scheme rose 15 per cent to 79, 266 during 2009-10, as against 69,117 in the previous year.
“The speed, cost, convenience and efficiency of banking services have not improved by using technology. A part of the problem is that banks are still trying out fledgling delivery models rather than putting in place a cost-effective, decentralised and realistic delivery model,” Chakrabarty said.
“Thus, fixing a problem when it happens becomes the weakest link in providing efficient customer service,” he added.
The ombudsman report shows an increase in the number of complaints from metropolitan and rural areas during 2009-10. Complaints received from the former constituted 34 per cent of the total, followed by rural areas (32 per cent), urban areas (20 per cent) and semi-urban areas (14 per cent).
“Unfortunately, information technology has not been properly implemented, leading to a rise in the number of complaints. This is due to lack of IT strategy, vision, business process re-engineering and business model, on the banks’ part,” he said.
According to RBI, banks are required to bring cost-effective technology with an appropriate delivery model to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of service.
Banks would also have to ensure that customers were treated fairly as technology had this unique characteristic of bringing in equality, RBI said.
Credit card-related complaints accounted for 24 per cent of the total, followed by non-adherence to the fair practices code adopted by banks (15 per cent) and loans and advances (eight per cent).
The banking ombudsmen offices at Chennai received the maximum complaints (16.1 per cent), followed by New Delhi (15.2 per cent), Mumbai (13.7 per cent) and Kanpur (9.9 per cent).