Saturday, November 01, 2014

Bank, Banker, and WYSIWYG......

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
                                                                                  --Charles Swindoll.

There are banks. And there are bankers.

Sometimes the banks are more important than the bankers who purport to manage things.

And sometimes, the bank gets it reputation  from the banker .

Most banks start out with not much assets of their own. By definition, the banks  get deposits from their customers, which they say they specialize in investing, for good returns.  As they build up their holdings, they also offer loans to people, and charge them interest.  House loans, educations loans, vehicle loans.  For some folks, the bank even offers  deals where people can withdraw money even when they don't have sufficient balance.

Many times,  the banks are unable to get back their loans for various reasons. For some loan recoveries, official letters are sent implying dire consequences, or they hire people who intimidate customers. On the other hand, if a customer comes into money unexpectedly and wishes to pay of a loan earlier, some banks make you pay for that too. As a person in debt, you must follow rules, not change them .

And when some of their own investments (the bank's) go awry, they are simply called NPA (non performing assets) and added to a list .  Sometimes, someone  in higher echelons indicates something, and all kinds of loans made to specially powerful  kinds of folks, are written off. No one really learns a lesson.

And yet, these banks often find money to get a face lift, with newer features, like machines , decor, fancy designations,  id neck pieces for employees, and so on.  Transparent glass partitions are introduced, behind which , sometimes ,non transparent transactions get done. There are auditors to audit their financial behaviour.  But hardly anyone audits management attitudes. 

Such banks deal in crores, and mention anything in  crores like you and I mention  roasted chana or bhel.  

I will call this Bank A.

But then there are other banks. Like Bank B. Single official banks. With amazing bankers.

Sometimes they have their own assets, sometimes held jointly with another entity.  These are clubbed together . These banks don't beg customers for deposits.  They do monthly analysis on how much can be put by themselves in a savings deposit. 

Yes, they do have folks asking for loans.  No recommendations from outside folks,  but the banking folks ensure they know their customer well. No KYC, no Adhaar, no photos. But a good study of the customer's need, trustworthiness, and character. A flexible pay back system. Sometimes automatically deducted by the bank every month.  Early sudden paybacks of loans are encouraged and enhance the customers loan worthiness. No penalties for early paying back of loans.

The bank even ascertains expenditure profiles of customers without having them fill forms.  Any expenditures related to alcohol,  abuse of household women  and gambling , and the customers get blacklisted and loans refused.   Expenditures related to education of children and elder care , are encouraged. These banks very rarely generate non performing assets, because there is a proper monitoring of how resources of the bank are spent.  In fact, many times , the bank functions as a de facto counselor  for troubled customers, and slowly brings them back in line.

These banks too, often imagine getting a renovation.  But more often than not,  the budget doesn't allow it.  There are no interest payments coming in from debtors.  Daily transactions are checked with an eagle eye, with a keen eye on the market situation, and investments in perishables and non perishables are astutely managed. These banks make planned savings for emergencies.  There are no glass partitions needed.

Yes, there are no auditors either, because these banks self-audit.  And file returns with the government every year.  They never declare NPA's (Non Performing Assets), because  they value their assets, work endlessly to get them to perform, and learn  to be useful entities in society.

Bank A has fancy designations, and everyone has perks and wears formals.   It does mergers and acquisitions in its pursuit of power, and sometimes even changes names. And pens for their customers' use are tied to shelves with chains, just in case a customer goes off with one in a hurryThey expect us to trust them with our money, but do not trust us with their pens. You see these banks everywhere. Existing and being monitored under the benevolent eye of the RBI.  Folks can ask questions about this bank in Parliament.

Bank B, has only one designation. Woman-of-the-house.  No perks. Except possibly a better and honest environment.  The mergers and acquisitions  also happen sometimes, and sometimes names are also changed( though it is never mandatory), but these are never in the pursuit of power, and simply enhance the bank ethos. Any number of pens are available for customers' use, and sometimes the bank even teaches illiterate customers how to sign their name in their language of convenience.  You see these banks daily, and again, almost everywhere.  They don't need an RBI, because they self regulate, and delegate duties down the years, so new trained folks emerge.

In Bank B , no one really wears formals.  And no one dares to ask any questions about Bank B in Parliament.

They don't need to create an image.

What You See Is What You Get.   

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