Overview of RBI’s Concerns
M Rajeshwar Rao, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has raised significant concerns regarding the banking sector’s focus on customer acquisition over grievance redressal. During his address at the Fibac summit, organized by Ficci and IBA, Rao criticized the banks for their inadequate attention to customer grievances.
Critique of Current Banking Practices
Rao pointed out the irony in banks, which pride themselves as service industries, neglecting an essential aspect of customer service – grievance redressal. He observed that while banks are innovating in customer acquisition, little effort is being made to improve grievance redress mechanisms.
Call for Cultural and Attitudinal Change
Emphasizing the need for a cultural shift, Rao urged banks to prioritize efficient, prompt, and cost-effective grievance redress mechanisms. He highlighted that such a change is not just a regulatory requirement but a crucial aspect of customer service.
Directive to Bank Leadership
The Deputy Governor called upon the top leadership and boards of banks to actively engage in resolving this issue. He expressed concern over the lag in grievance redressal efforts, especially in the context of technological advancements and product diversification in the sector.
Special Attention to Vulnerable Customers
Rao stressed the importance of banks treating senior citizens, individuals with special needs, and the technologically challenged with special care and empathy.
Emphasis on Empathy in Banking
He reminded the banking sector that an empathetic approach towards customers can be a significant factor in winning their loyalty. The RBI plans to address these aspects more vigorously in its future interactions with banks.
Adapting to Changing Consumer Demographics
Rao also pointed out the necessity for banks to cater to the needs of Gen Z consumers, who have different expectations and preferences compared to previous generations.
Shift Towards Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS)
Highlighting a major shift in the banking sector, Rao spoke about the emergence of the BaaS model. This model requires banks to operate within a larger ecosystem, collaborating with various non-bank entities.
Transitioning to an Ecosystem Approach
Banks are expected to move from a sectoral approach to an ecosystem approach. This transition will likely position markets as central points for intermediation, with banks becoming part of a larger network of entities.
Evolution in Service Provision
The future of banking may involve a shift from traditional services to hyper-personalized, embedded banking solutions.
Changing Customer Preferences
Rao anticipates a shift in customer preferences towards market-linked investment products. He also foresees the rise of ‘super apps’ offering multiple banking products.
Focus on Cybersecurity and Fraud Prevention
The Deputy Governor urged banks to strengthen their cybersecurity measures and prevent cyber frauds. He highlighted the emergence of ‘Dark Patterns’ and other digital threats like fraudulent apps and privacy breaches.
In conclusion, Rao suggested that these shifts in the banking industry might require the RBI to reassess its risk management frameworks, particularly concerning liquidity and market risks.