A committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to review the customer service standards at various regulated commercial banks has come up with several recommendations to boost the banking services for the public, especially for senior citizens.
Meanwhile, it has sought comments from all stakeholders on the recommendations via mail by July 7, 2023, before it finalizes the report.
The committee, formed in May 2022, evaluated the banks’ customer services, the best practices followed, the customer needs, before offering suggestions to improve customer service and grievance redressal. It presented its recommendations in a report on June 5, 2023.
It also reviewed other regulated entities (REs) such as non-banking financial companies, (NBFCs), Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Payments Corporations of India (NPCI), etc.
Recommendations Benefiting Senior Citizens
Life Certificate Acceptance At Any Branch: The committee recommended that a life certificate should be accepted at any bank branch where the senior citizen has a pension account. Also, the certificate submission should not be restricted to a particular month to avoid last moment rush. Seniors should have the option to submit the certificate in any month.
Dedicated Phone Numbers For Senior Citizens: It is recommended that the regulated entities (REs) provide dedicated phone numbers to handling senior citizens’ queries. This number should be displayed in the bank branches and on the websites of the regulated entities. For senior’s convenience, the numbers may also be printed on the passbook or account statement, or other communication material issued to the senior citizens.
Payment By Relatives For Door-Step Banking: The committee observed that seniors are ‘reluctant to pay for services such as door–step banking’ whereas their family members are willing to pay on the senior’s behalf for these services. It is recommended that the REs offer door-step payment services or payments through the relatives of senior citizens.
Text To Speech And ChatBots For Convenience: Realising the need for standardisation of the ATM interface and minimising the functionalities at ATMs for senior citizens, physically challenged, and people who are not tech savvy, etc, it recommended ‘text to speech’ software, ChatBots, and software in multi-language for convenience of the elderly people.
Reduce The Need Of Physical Presence: Furthermore, the integration of biometric sensors, such as fingerprint, face, and iris scanners on smartphones, can reduce the need for physical presence and physical signatures. Such measures, the report recommended, can help senior citizens make payments with ease. Additionally, phone-based scanners can augment the OTP-based authentication system for additional security to help reduce fraud, the report states.