Archive | banks and finance RSS feed for this section

The Fear of Deflation in Indian Economy

20 Mar

Today’s Economic Times has the screaming article Indian Economy staring at deflation. Is it good news ? in its front page.  Too late .. I have already predicted and reported on this .

On Feb27th of 2009 I had posted a blog  Inflation down to 3.36%. Nothing to be happy about. This blog was posted when 3.36% inflation figures were released by the government.

Is it good news ? Of course not. Why should it be ? Think about it. Deflation arises when less money is chasing more products. So the question now comes – Is it that we Indians have no money to buy ?

On the contrary,Indians have the money to invest. How else would you explain record number of new mobile connections sold ? How else will you explain Mercedes selling more cars in India than in most of the so called “‘mature”, “developed”  markets ? How else can you explain the IPL commercial values involved? How else can you explain DTH connections sold in drones in the last 6 months?

So you see , we can safely say that we Indians have the money to spend. What prevents us from spending a lot ( unlike last year) is the fear factor.

France , America, Britian has millions of job loses reported . France had 3 million out on streets protesting against wage cutes and unemployment. How many such rallies have we seen in India? I will let you answer that question.

First, let us accept the accept that the Indian economy clocked 9% G.D.P last year and it was fueled by entrepreneurship . But, unlike our counterparts ,Indians are largely insulated by the bad economic troubles. But true to our risk averse mind set we are saving our money and too scared to invest or buy in indulgence. Therefore , demand is low.

There are 2 ways at looking at it. Positive and Negative. Taking the current discussion under consideration, we are forced to look at the negative reasons. And negative reasons are very scary indeed.

What can be done ?  Two things – Awarness and Proactive solutions by the government and private companies and banks.

Self Awareness from the people is hard to come by. The government representatives should come out and talk directly to the people instead of just giving out talks in press conference . TV news channels can give a good coverage by inviting top brass to address people directly.

Address the Nation : When was the last the time we actually sat in front of the TV and listened to Presidential speech on the eve of Independence day ? Be honest about it .. But , this is the right time for Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, RBI head to directly to the people. We should also have business icons and thought leaders like Naryana Mooorthy, Sam Pitroda, Sunil Mittal, Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni, and writers , celebrities talk directly to the people. The idea is to instil confidence and security to the people.

Go Vernacular : Talking in high jargon filled English is not gonna do the trick. The biggest curse of India is that we have not been able to permeate the growth of the economy to the villages. Few people realise that villages, tier 2 and 3 cities hold the key to super power status of India. They may not be English educated but they have spending power. And like Unilever’s CEO Mr Paul said in a interview , ” We will have to drive people’s habits” . Very True!

But talk to people in their language.

Start spending but in a controlled way . Educate, Empower and set example and spread the word. Be a thought leader yourself. Ask your friends to spend but not in excess. Try to include Indian products in your grocery. This will fuel domestic economy and also in the long term make us a potential market and make it more investor friendly .

Simple things are can go a long way. You dont have to be a Chief Economist to drive change.

Just a thought : We should stop IMF and S&P500 and other agency give investor ratings during recession. Otherwise people are gonna reach such stats and go into a shell and reduce spending and brakes the FDI’s.

Advertisements

ICICI has the worst customer service in India : Personal Experience !

14 Mar

How many of you here, who reads my posts have an ICICI account? I don’t! In fact, after a call from a customer service person today, I have resolved never to get an ICICI account no matter what the situation is.

icici-logo

Here is why:

I just completed my 2-wheeler loan amount Emi . ICICI bank was supposed to send me NOC ( No objection papers) . Yet , I kept getting sms messages from ICICI saying  that I still owe then Rs 2280.

Today , I got a call from a guy called Suresh . He is  in the department in charge of sending out NOC papers.

Here is the conversation – verbatim :

Me : Suresh, can you tell me why ICICI is sending me such a sms ?

Suresh : ( in an extremely rude tone) :  you see , that is not my business. I only want to check your address so that I can send in your NOC

Me : but suresh, can you not tell me why.. ( I get cut short)

Suresh : I am telling you that it is  not my department and I am not concerned.

Me : Suresh, I am your customer. You can have the basic courtesy of talking to me in a decent way.

Suresh : I know you are a customer . I am not in charge of the department , and I can’t help.

Me ( I get irritated) : Suresh, basic rule of customer service is to listen to what your customer has to say. I am in a services business industry … ( I get cut short this time)

Suresh  ( he starts reading out my address  without even letting me finish my sentence) : is that where I should mail your noc ?

Me :  yes

did you notice the negatives in the conversation ? “Don’t” , “cant” ?

Now,ICICI claims to be the 2nd largest bank in India. Second only to SBI !

But t if it was really that great in terms of revenue and all that jazz, how come I was treated so bad? How come the customer service ( front end ) guy dint have the basic courtesy of not having the patience to listen to me ? How humiliated did I feel when I was cut short in trying explaining my problem ?

Why should I conduct my business with a bank like this ? Why would anybody want to have any relationship with a bank like this ? Or is this an isolated case ?

I work for a company which has a very long standing with ICICI bank . I am supposed to get ICICI savings account opened next month. That is not going to happen .

I have no intention of having any sort of relationship with ICICI and instead will continue using Axis account and open a new account with any of PSB’s .

If ever a marketing guy of ICICI reads my post , I request him to make sure that  another customer like me should never be treated and humiliated in a similar manner.

I also came across Arjun’s blog ICICI Bank – bad experience for many also , Vijay Padiyar’s blog reflects a similar experience in ICICI Direct Pathetic Customer Service .

It does stop here . A cursry search on the term : icici bad experience , throws out alarming blogs and forums on how bad banking with ICICI is :

Life is Like this

Hindustan Network forum

Bad experience with ICICI bank Credit card – this is from Indian consumer complaints forum

Anita Bora’s blog : Where is the customer service – Trouble with ICICI bank

Arjun Prabu;s blog ICICI bank- Bad experience for many

Fiscal Policy : Are we planning to go into a recession?

26 Feb

I want you guys  to read the article Wrong Doctor, wrong treatment from the editorial of the Business Line and give it a serious thought. 

But i must caution that if you are not a keen follower of economic policies happening in India and across the world then you will not be able to grasp the real concept behind what the author is trying to convey in the article. Written in clear and simple words the author of the article is wondering if tthe Govt going dangerously wrong in itr fiscal and monetary policy. 

I personally think there is a element of  merit in the arguments put forth in the article. 

Are we trying to spend the money which we dont have ? Is it not similar to what happened in America in between 1993 and 2007 , the effect of which is now seen as the economic recession now. So, are we getting the wrong economics right in the wrong propotions? 

Are we spending more than what we should be spending ? Are we taking the fiscal problem in a lighter sense ? 

I dont care what economist you believe in . I personally go for Keynesian . Always have. But you may be a Friedman fan for all I care.

But today’s economic situation is so differenent in its scale and scope that I am willing to let go of Keynesian theories and embrace which will work and sound logic from an development prespective. 

I implore you guys to read the article . 

Please drop in your queries, doubts, ideas, thoughts so we can have a sensible discussion this and take it forward.

Also read my post on Is India still in recession to understand what is happeining to our economy.

Insipring article on rural bpo in india

29 Jan

yesterday’s editorial by Rasheeda Bhagat – Where money has new meaning , which appeared in Business Line has become one of most inspiring and important article in my life.  it practically changed the way i treat a BPO/Call Centre employee and more importantly it once again showcased  the power rural Indians have in shapping our country.

i request anyone …nay .. everyone who reads this post to follow the article link and the read it. that is not enough.  Pass on the post/link to your friends , relatives, managers where you are working and let them know the potential of rural India.

why is the post important to me ? you need to know my insignificant story first .

the story :

on the first week of Nov 2008 i quit my job at the advertising firm where i was working. i quit suddenly .. just like that ! one reason was due to a pressing  family emergency which i cant write it here for obvious reasons. the other was because i started hating the job. it wast not like that before, though!

i used to love the advertising field. i used to dream of working for an agency  for couple of years, finish a MBA degree . then join main stream marketing , enter Brand Management field with specialization in digital media communications. I was clear in what I wanted to do . But working in the company for close to 5 months I just got too stressed out. I dint have time for my family and friends . Even more alarming was that I dint have time for myself. working Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 9pm drained me out so completely that I was too exhausted on Sundays to do anything. I couldn’t read a book , felt lazy to go out and meet friends, dint have time to visit British Council library ( i used to go there every Saturday for 3 hours from 4 pm to 7 pm ).  i was tired to get up early morning to go out for a run/gym/yoga/meditation etc .. i just couldn’t .. so i quit! Call me a wuss but hey .. I have no regrets .

Today I believe that core marketing and PR has better chances revolutionizing brand management theories than advertising can ever do. I am looking to enter the Afro mentioned fields.

3 months hence I  still havent joined a new company yet. worse ! i dont have money to pay my credit card bills. now comes the call from bank bpo employees cordially asking me to pay my minimum due amount. i tell them i cant pay because i am out of work . i will pay it later with the interest .  but when they keep calling , i get irritated and blast them. i forget for a minute that they are just doing their jobs. they are collection agents and they have to collect and close accounts every month  which are due on late payments.

I forget that they could have been Shahida!

after reading the article yesterday, i realized i could have blasted Shahida or some one like her and now i am reeked with shame.

so .. who is Shahida ?

you will meet her when you read the artcile . here is a snap preview of her …

name : Shahida – age: 25 – location : Tirupathi (A.P) – education : B.A Economics , Telugu medium – occupation: bpo employee at Atlas Documentry Facilities Company Pvt Ltd started by HDFC bank – job profile : backroom processing of banks data’s in fuctions as opening of new accounts,credit card related information,foreclosure of loans ,etc.

pay : rs3,700/month – expense : Rs2000 sent to parents,rs 1,500 for hostel and lodging – for personal expense : rs 200 ( balance amount) – other income : after work shift , she makes 3oo rupees from weaving embroidery sarees.

Total amount on hand : Rs 500/per month.

Money sent to parents which helps in paying for her 2 brother’s college fees – rs 2000

her father earns – rs 60-70 a day .

Compare that with mine :

2-4 movies per month at Satyam Cinemas ( when i go with a friend or with my girl friend ) : rs 500 ( tickets alone)

a meal for 2 at Subway – veg patty sandwhich – rs 201- includes coke under “special offer” scheme . I go there almost every week.

other expenses – very very studpid unnecessary expenses – rs “more than 3000” .

Does that mean, I could /can help educating 2 young guys every month by paying their college fees ? does that mean i can uplift India in my own way in providing education to these students ? Does that mean, if I sacrifice a bit ( do i really have to watch 2 movies every month and eat at subway every week ?) i can make differece to a fellow citizen ?

Do the math and find out how much you are wasting …

And if HDFC or other bank’s marketing people are reading this post. I would like to ask  – why dont you take initatives and reach out to people like me directly to fund education of students – like that of Shahida’s brothers?  I am ready ..

As a customer/client I am ready . The question is whether the people from the bank/govt of india core management team ready to bring out innovative policies to tap working class people like me from urban india to educate the rural india.  I will never call them poor. They are more hardworking, more resourceful, more dedicated than most of us ( including me). They may not have money but I dont give a rat’s ass to money if you have diginity .

This is my clarion call to all the banks in India.

Here is an important line from the article which shook me to the core and changed me as a person.

” They have to fight for what most of us take for granted- a college education,a secure home loan, enough food on the table and a job in an air conditioned office…”

My Salutations :

to Shahida and her coleagues in that bank : My humble pranam to you . you inspire me in a way like no other other “self help” books or the monks who sold their ferraris. from you i realize the value of hard work , money and pride. if you ever read this post i want you to know that you have my sincere admiration and respect . you rock !

to HDFC bank : I am not your customer . I dont know how good is your service to your customer. I won’t comment on that. But this initiative you have undertaken – Kudos to you!  Great work and i wish you guys will go ahead and replicate this kind of work all over India.

I second what Mr.M Durgaprasd ,Assistant Vice-President and Head Operations (BPO), “……. I find them sincere,disciplined and hardworking”.

to govt of india :  most of the policies introduced is rampant with corruption. consider : the amount of money politicians would have pocketed set aside for NREGA.  But the EGMM ( Employee Generation Marketing Mission) initiative is something you will have my complete support.

most corporate look at rural india from a CSR perspective. it is nothing but one form or sympathy and empathy. people from rural india are not looked as someone who can bring in money for the growth of the company and earn a livelihood for themselves . Instead , companies open such initiatives and give it a CSR tag. I think that is stupid. given their dedication to work,opportunity for self empowerment and at the same time contribute to the growth of the company in terms of good service and revenue generation , corporate india should consider them at par with other employees from urban india.

that is why i always consider c.k prahald’s book – fortune at the bottom of the pyramid very important in its concept and execution to change  India.

I have earlier 2 articles on this :

About time we looked at rural india

Is india still in recession

Spread the good word !