In order to empower consumers and make them financially literate Kamala Nehru College (KNC) undertook an Innovative Project entitled KNC-304 “Consumer Evaluation of Financial Services in India”. In the month of December 2015, the project team visited the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) and State Helplines established by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to understand their complaint handling system in the banking sector.
Principal Investigators: Dr. Sheetal Kapoor (Associate Professor, Kamala Nehru College), Dr. Azka Kamil (Assistant Professor, Kamala Nehru College), Ms. Vibhuti Vasishth (Assistant Professor, Kamala Nehru College)
Students: Sugandha Vir Anand, Priya Chawla, Vatsala Mansharamani, Shalini Jha, Shreya Jha, Rhythm Mathur, Sreedevi N. Kurur, Neha Sharma, Twinkle Shukla, Aditi Khanna.
Mentor: Prof Sri Ram Khanna and Co Mentor: Mrs Nutan Lugani
To address the nature of problems faced during banking, workshops based on financial literacy were organised by the team at Sagar (Madhya Pradesh), Patna (Bihar) and Rajender Nagar (Delhi). Informative pamphlets in Hindi language were distributed and the problems relating to banks were noted. The attendants were also guided about the mechanism of lodging a complaint with the bank or banking ombudsman. Few workshops especially catered to women in the lower income group.
The framework of the work was based on analysing customer segments in different income groups, each demanding specific types of services and attention from the bank. The results were:
Lower income group customers: Through face to face interviews with 257 respondents, it was found that these customers faced problems while opening a bank account and 23% do not have a nominee for their account. So, after their death the left over amount remains unclaimed. The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has also not penetrated deeply into the society, as a lot of people are still unaware of this scheme. Many banking users do not realize that they should keep their PINs and passwords secret, and are unaware of the right place to visit in case they seek redressal.
Middle Income and net savvy customers: They use banking services such as online banking, Credit Card/Debit cards, ATMs and do not physically go to bank branches for doing transactions once they fulfil the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. A study on 524 respondents found that, users are unaware of the need to keep a strong password and frequently change them while using online banking. Majority of the respondents are unaware of the safety features of their credit cards and are dissatisfied with the charges taken by their banks. Various customers have faced incorrect debits, and this problem was not satisfactorily resolved by their service providers. Customers feel that banks should provide more information while availing their services.