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Citibank starts its new tantrums in India

Sunday, November 15, 2009

/ by Srikanth Eswaran


Many of you might have noticed an email sent from Citibank very recently where they have increased the minimum account balance for non salary accounts that one has to maintain in order to be receiving the services of the bank. Citibank was known to be the pioneer in India to introduce online banking, and also for utility bill payments among other useful services. The bank's image merged well with the minds of young engineers who adopted Citi as a part of their daily life since a decade.


There was also a point in time when Citibank was the new face of banking as against banks such as Canara Bank, SBI which our parents were accustomed to. While salary accounts of Citibank had the zero balance scheme, non salary accounts started off with a minimum account balance of Rs.1000/- in 1999, and grew to Rs.5000 and Rs.10000 subsequently. The email that most of us received a while ago, gave us nightmares when we saw that the new minimum balance for non salary accounts has now been increased to Rs.25000/-. While this kind of amount is perhaps the salary of many engineers across the country and perhaps the savings of a few wealthier folks, the mail also reflects the way Citibank is headed if they continue such tantrums.


Its about time that nationalized banks have increased their image in front of the public, and at a time when Citibank just came out of crisis in the USA, tantrums like these are bound to make people reject Citibank for banking and move to much more reasonable banks in the near future.


I happened to check out on Bank of Baroda, and was pleasantly left surprised at the kind of service they offered though they were still a bit naive to internet ways of banking. What mattered finally was that I could open an account in no time, and was a happy customer of theirs sooner than later. Canara Bank has lately restyled their logo trying to connect more to people as they continue their dream run forward. IDBI has now introduced banking for all to shed their image of only being a loan disbursement company. ICICI is already in the list of the not so good banks to deal with. HDFC and AXIS Banks have retained their image through tough times due to their consistent policies. SBI and its sister banking divisions have enhanced their images through beneficial loan schemes and exchange rates. ING Vysya is about to launch FD products giving 12% interest even in good economy upswings.


With all these banks vying hard to woo people, one wrong move that Citibank has done can start denting its Indian image pretty seriously. Today's youth connect well with nationalized banks yet again and its only sooner than later that it will be the good old golden period of nationalized banking to the fore yet again.


As for me, I've decided to log off from Citibank for obvious reasons. Your choice is not yet made! Think for the longer term and make a wise choice.







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