“I wish people became more aware of their rights in relation to banks. If you are not aware, how can you hope to fight against malpractices? You should be vigilant about every matter relating to your bank. While banks have ‘know your customer’ norms, it is also essential for customers to ‘know your bank’. There are so many cases of banks fleecing customers but no one bothers to take the matter to the concerned authorities,” said Kishori J Udeshi, Chairperson of the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI). She was speaking at a special financial literacy workshop organised by Moneylife Foundation on Monday on International Women’s Day.
Ms Udeshi outlined the procedure for taking up issues with banks and the steps available at the disposal of the customer for escalating the matter with higher authorities like the Banking Ombudsman. “At BCSBI, we look after the systemic issues in the banking industry. These issues do take a long time to resolve, but they do get redressed. We ensure that the concerned bank changes its practices.
Several banks have evolved as a result of our efforts in grievance redressal. Each bank has a grievance redressal policy. In case a customer approaches bank authorities with a complaint, the bank is expected to reply within a month. In case you are unsatisfied with their reply, it is required that the banker give you the option of escalating the matter with the Banking Ombudsman,” she said.
She listened to the grievances experienced by members from the audience and advised them on the correct route to be adopted in such cases and the ways to avoid them.
On International Women’s Day, the Moneylife Foundation was proud to felicitate three women activists who have a made a difference to society, fighting for various causes and standing up for the middle class. Ms Udeshi, the former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, felicitated Ms Indrani Malkani of the Malabar Hill Residents Association, Ms Anandini Thakoor of the Khar Residents Association and Ms Sumaira Abdulali of the Awaaz Foundation.
Civic activist Indrani Malkani is secretary-trustee of the Malabar Hill Residents Association, which has put in place a unique partnership between the residents, traders, hawkers etc for their peaceful co-existence. She is the moving force behind the effort to get school children to travel by buses in order to decongest the city.
Environmentalist and Mumbai’s foremost and veteran anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali has braved a physical attack by the sand quarry mafia. These days, she is better known for Awaaz Foundation, which is primarily responsible for the effective implementation of the 10pm deadline on noise and introduction of silence zones.
Civic activist Anandini Thakoor is the managing trustee of Khar Residents Association. She is another brave woman who has faced attacks and gheraos for her campaign against political posters across Mumbai. She is also known for lending ready support to various causes.
The felicitations were followed by a short speech by Ms Anjana Makkar, who advised and urged women to deal effectively with finance matters. She is the Grievance Redressal Officer for Citibank India. She said, “I would urge each woman to be aware of any investments being made in their names. We need to know what is happening around us. It would be wise to understand the documents you are signing and ensuring you have joint ownership of your spouse’s investments. I would also urge women to put away some money for a rainy day.”
The programme was followed by an interactive working session on finance, specifically designed for women, by Moneylife Foundation’s programme coordinator Aparna Ramachandra. The entire event turned out to be an enlightening experience for the women’s audience, which made them realise their inherent ability to be smart with money.