Apropos of the report “Wilful default: 5,600 owe banks Rs 60,000 crore” (FE, March 18), this information comes as a big surprise for the common man. Ironically, the number of the wilful defaulters has suddenly gone up after the intervention of RBI, which has recently taken very serious note of the sky-rocketing NPAs of public sector banks. However, the final outcome of these cases still remains shrouded in mystery, notwithstanding the fact the affected banks have already filed suits for recovery of the money owed to them, thanks to the country’s archaic justice delivery system. Interestingly, the data put forward in this report places SBI at the top position, followed by PNB—and together, they account for more than one-third of total Rs 60,000 crore owed by the wilful defaulters. However, the private sector banks and even foreign banks are also faced with the similarly worrying position when it comes to wilful defaulters. Kotak Mahindra Bank occupies the top position, with Rs 5,442 crore (accounting for nearly half of the total amount owed to private sector banks) which remains stuck due to non-recovery of outstanding borrowings. However, one hopes that with the Sebi also closing the doors of the financial markets for these wilful defaulters, things may change for the better. But, in all fairness, our banking sector too should remain vigilant enough not to fall an easy prey to these chronic elements. Mind you, a stitch in time always saves nine.
World Consumer Rights Day
The World Consumer Rights Day, observed on March 15, is an annual occasion for celebration of and solidarity with the international consumer-rights movement that focuses on promoting, protecting and respecting the basic rights of consumers. Research shows that in this fast-paced, technologically-advanced era, 95% of dissatisfied customers don’t complain and silently drift to competitors because they believe companies will not help them or they think complaining is too much of a hassle. While buying vegetables, if the balance shows incorrect weight, customer may walk off. But if the same customer, while buying gold, suspects incorrect weight reading by few milligrams in digital balance, the accuracy of the balance will come under question. Only when the value of product increases, does the customer get worried about accuracy of weighing, etc. Though companies claim that ‘customer is the king’ and use buzzwords such as ‘customer-delight’, sometimes they fall way short of putting that philosophy to work. Having a ‘customer delight’ philosophy as the centre of your business requires reorientation both at corporate and individual levels. At the corporate level, one may have policies/procedures, but it is the individuals who delivers, and they personnel should be trained to live and breathe ‘customer delight’. Remember the dictum: Customer service is to sales as ink is to a pen.