Saturday 17 May 2014

Banking and Signboards

Banking is a very difficult business. At a customer level nobody teaches you banking. You learn through trial and experience. Private banks deal with banking as a product and government banks treat it as a charitable service to you.

Anyway today's post is a result of the incomprehensible signboards on the numerous service windows of my bank. This bank started by one of India's most trusted communities with foreign origins, completed about 100 years last year. I have been an account holder for 30 years or so. Despite having held an account for so long therefore a visitor for all these years, I am still not able to decipher any of the "helpful" signboards made for portraying an image of being customer friendly. Nationalization and compulsory use of Rashtrabhasha has only made matters difficult. Use of archaic English is rampant when almost 90 % of the country's population has difficulty with foreign languages or at times with their own mother tongue. Do you know that a whole lot of government banks have Rashtrabhasha departments with the sole objective of promoting the use of Rashtrabhasha and for translating and releasing all official communication in Hindi. Apparently a Rashtrabhasha week is also celebrated every year.

Coming back, I was in my home branch to deposit some money. There were two windows, each one said "Cashier A/B", "Passbook printing". The Rashtrabhasha signboards were missing maybe because of the recent renovation and computerization. Previously there used to be Khajanchi, Mukhya Khajanchi, Adakarta Khajanchi and Deyakarta Khajanchi and of course "Teller". To me Khajanchi was my neighbour who owned several grocery shops in Dadar. Teller was someone who tells you how much money you have or don't have. Apparently in ancient times money was denoted by "tales" and therefore "teller" or whatever be its history which has no connection whatsoever with modern times.
I looked at the line of people ahead of me and what each one of them was holding. A visual inspection always gives a better idea of what to expect at the window. So there were hands holding passbooks, pay-in slip books, withdrawal slips and cash. I seemed to at the right window. After five turns and a lapse of about 25 minutes that included the time spent by the clerk for a toilet break I was able to push my slip book and cash through the tiny hole in the window and utter the word "Deposit". I was immediately shown a finger pointing to the adjoining window. I was aghast. What had I done wrong?  I quietly moved to the next window which mercifully had  no line of people in front of it. Yes there was sign on the window that said "Receivables above 25,000 only. Tokan payment only". Now what is that supposed to mean. Who is going to receive the receivable and on which side of the window. What is tokan payment. Do you get only part of what you are supposed to receive?

Thirty minutes later I am still where I was Thirty years back. I think I should write to the Mukhya Prabandhak asking for the installation of a Jaankari Kaksh at the entrance.

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