Bank employee unions insist name of grievances cell should be easily understood by common citizens; also push for a special counter for senior citizens
A committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to look into the issues of customer services has agreed to change the name of the Banking Ombudsman to something simpler like the 'Banking Lokpal', which is less of a tongue-twister.
This suggestion was made by the Indian National Bank Employees' Federation (INBEF) to the committee headed by M Damodaran as many customers from rural areas were not familiar with the term ombudsman and would therefore not be forthcoming with their complaints on banking services to the department.
Subhash Sawant, general secretary, INBEF, said, "Many bank customers mainly from rural customers do not understand what ombudsman is all about. When we ask them to file a complaint with the ombudsman, they simply ask us, 'What is ombudsman?' "
The Federation has also suggested that the number of offices of the banking ombudsman be increased. Currently there is only one office that is based in Mumbai and it covers mainly Maharashtra and Goa. It has also asked that a special counter should cater to senior citizens at the branches of all banks, during the first 10 days of every month, as the number of pensioners has increased sharply.
In its reply to IBNEF with respect to its suggestions, the committee said, "The title of the RBI Banking Ombudsman may be changed to a simpler, easily understandable one. The area of operations of the Ombudsman may also be enlarged." In a letter to the Federation the committee also said, "The number of pensioners is increasing. Special counters for pensioners may be considered especially during the first week of every month."
"The committee has agreed in principle to our recommendations. We welcome the response on the matter of senior citizens. About the matter of changing the name of the banking ombudsman, we will know when the report is out," Mr Sawant said.
Other bank unions were also represented along with the IBNEF at the meeting with the Damodaran committee which also discussed issues like clean currency notes, shortage of banking staff and banking-related security.
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