Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Soon, a bank-wide portal that will allow you to shop for best service

Customer is king Online travel portals seed the idea of a similar portal for banks Customers could compare interest rates on deposits/loans across banks at one go Figuring out which bank offers the best deal could become easy Will empower customer
Mumbai, August 20: How convenient it would be to compare at one place interest rates on deposits offered by various banks, their retail loan rates, margin amounts they require, the processing fees they charge, the add-on facilities they offer on deposits, and so on.
Extremely. The Finance Ministry also thinks so, and wants public sector banks, a la travel portals such as cleartrip, makemytrip, yatra and expedia, to explore the feasibility of setting up a bank-wide portal. These online travel portals allow travellers the convenience of comparing the fares quoted by various airlines so that they can buy the cheapest ticket plus the various add-ons such as hotel rooms and airport pick-up.
Wide choice: As things stand now, customers seeking a higher return on their investible surplus, or the cheapest home, car or personal loan, have to either go to the branches of various banks or surf their individual Web sites. No mean task as there are 26 public sector banks, including the five associate banks of State Bank of India. A more discerning customer may widen his search to the 23 private sector banks too.
Time-Saver: But with a bank-wide portal, customers can avoid the tedium of visiting the branches of various banks or surfing their Web sites, saving much time and energy. At the click of a mouse, one can compare interest rates on deposits and loans across banks, said a senior public sector bank official. “The portal could usher in transparency in banks’ dealings with customers,” he explained.
Banks will have to update their details on the portal regularly to reflect the latest position on interest rates, and any change in product features. The portal could also incorporate a feature whereby, if a customer zeroes in on a particular bank to place a deposit with or take a loan from, all he needs to do is share his contact details, so that officers from the nearest branch can contact him to complete the transaction.
Advertising: A banker said that private sector and foreign banks too may join the portal at a later stage, if it attracts enough eyeballs. The project to design, build, own and operate the portal is likely to be given to an information technology company. The company can recover the costs from advertisements placed by banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and broking firms.

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