I hope you’ve read my earlier experiences with banks. I should be a tough customer for everyone; why else would I have a terrible experience with every bank? Or, may be my stay in ‘Customer Support’ arena for the last 8 years (all my career!) forces me to look at service in a different way.
This one is with State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH). This is the first bank I opened an account with, when in graduation. My dad and uncle wanted me to have an account of my own to start savings (I used to earn OK with tuitions and stuff back then) but the idea of showing off a cheque book was more appealing than savings, so I did open one.
I used it for a while, with not many issues. Until I got my first salary account (with all those free transactions, zero balance, ATM card and Internet banking), I thought standing in line for 20 minutes to withdraw Rs. 300/- was perfectly normal. Then I realized I didn’t have to keep track of the bank holidays and timings (10.00 am – 2.30 pm) anymore. So, I started using ICICI more than SBH. And then someday soon I had already forgotten I had an account with SBH. And then I discovered my ‘passbook’ in some old files.
I took it to the bank and inquired about the balance. By then, they had supposedly changed the account number format twice and it took 45 minutes in the line to get a new account number and passbook with dotmatrix print (It was pen and paper before). Yeah, everytime I asked to have my passbook updated with the transactions, they put the complete book in the printer. How kool?
Then I saw an advertisement on billboard or newspaper that SBH has come up with ATM cards. I had one from ICICI already but why not another one if I have an option? How kool would it be to flash two ATM cards when someone asks if I have a bank account, haan? So, I went to the bank and requested an ATM card for my account.
The first person I approached looked surprised and answered “We don’t have an ATM card for SBH! If you are so much into technology and advanced banking, you have to go to one of those corporate banks like ICICI, HDFC or GTB”. Yep, Global Trust Bank was one of the well known banks then, unfortunately no more now.
I wanted to talk to the manager. Not very surprised this time, I received the same answer from manager. I actually had to get the newspaper cutting and show him that SBH has an ATM card. I wonder how it happened that a branch manager had no information about it. He then inquired with some assistants and gave me an application form.
Six weeks later, I received the card and after another two weeks, and may be 5-6 visits to the branch, I got the ATM pin. All was well till April first week, 2006.
Two days before I left to US on a corporate trip, I lost my wallet. I lost all the ATM cards with some good amount of cash I saved to get new shoes and stuff. I managed to block the credit cards and ATM cards from other banks. Till today I didn’t even bother to visit SBH branch and/ or block the card, it’s almost 4 years now!
Today on my way to office, I saw a billboard that talked about “SBH Explore”. It’s a new face of SBH with all the corporate banking features. Wow, if the technology allows me to access my account without standing in line at the branch, I wanted to give it a try. I walked into office, opened a browser and searched for the URL. I didn’t have any luck at first but then I visited Wikipedia page to get the official site there. And guess what? I see this message below. Cheers SBH!
Com’on, they forgot to renew the domain name? Huh!