Dear Shikha Sharma ;
I logged in my mail and saw your letter after visiting an Axis Bank branch this morning. I have been a Axis Privilege Customer for the last 11 years. Initially I recommended a lot of my friends and family to your bank – but recently I am thinking on whether I should continue or not.
Its not just about the fraud and the crisis that happened with demonetisation – but over the years there has been a steep decline in Customer Service , Approach , Technology Robustness and of course as we see Governance and Controls.
This morning it took 30 minutes for the Teller at the 80 feet road Koramangla branch to serve me . he apologised ” Sir – The systems are slow” – and this is not the first time that we have seen your systems behave badly with a huge crowd waiting to be serviced. The poor hassled teller was at his wits end as the crowd that has been waiting since 845 AM started getting angry. (A similar transaction at Citibank last week took me less than 5 minutes). Later in the afternoon when I visited the Branch at 4th Block near Forum – I saw no Q and the security informed me that the system had stopped working totally. You are one of the top private banks in the Country and your system are down for hours – there is no apology / no SMS from the Bank saying sorry our systems are down.
The branches are dirty and unswept at 930 AM – it feels like I am walking into a Government building. The Vinyl posters are torn an tattered. The walls are plastered with papers most of them peeling off. The staff are lackadaisical and lost in their own world. Not just lost some are nasty.
Last week ( Thursday 15th) I was in the Q to withdraw money ( Again at the Branch near Forum) – I was sanding from 845AM . The Teller started his operations at 955 AM – bank opening was supposedly 930. There was a Q of over 75 people spilling into the streets – and there was money – as the support staff rolled in the trucks with the cash to the teller counter by 9.40. In a busy branch only 1 Teller was operational and he started his day at 9.55. The second Telleer counter was empty.
As I was standing in the Q – a staff got a call ( she was from the Forex team) and she started shouting at the customer. ” Stop calling me – you can check your account and you will get a SMS once the credit happens” – post the call she tells her supervisor sitting next to her ” This customer is a Psycho – he is a mad guy” all of this within earshot of the customers standing in the Q – If thats the attitude with which you treat your customers – I am really worried.
The branch manager is invisible – his room is always empty. 10 years back the Branch Manager would be visible, greeting his customer by name , there was leadership displayed, he would run the bank. Today I don’t even know who your Branch Manager is – he prefers to hide rather than come in the front and solve issues.
Even before demonetisations your ATM’s were dry most of the time. Your sales people were interested in selling Insurance Linked products… . The people in your branch look lost and confused – and its amazing that in this confusion there are still a few sincere hard working people who stand out. Many of the good people I have interacted with at your branches over the years have moved on …..
Maybe its time for me to move on to. Maybe the Fraud and the negative publicity is an opportunity for you to fix the mess in your Bank.
On behalf of my colleagues’ at Axis Bank, I write to thank you for your support and understanding since the demonetisation initiative began. It has been a challenging time and we have tried our level best to make it easier for you.
During this period we have been overwhelmed by the care and understanding customers such as you have shown us, from bringing food for our branch staff to the instant appreciation for a job well done. We have made every effort to ease the transition by making special arrangements for senior citizens and differently abled people at our branches, using micro-ATMS to deliver cash to BSF personnel, ensuring salary disbursement to government and corporate employees across the length and breadth of our country.
Hence the recent media reports around the conduct of a few of our employees have left me embarrassed and upset. We have fallen short of your expectations because a handful of people did not follow our fully compliant and robust processes. We have taken the toughest action against such employees and we will do so in every case of divergence from our Code of Conduct. I regret that the misdeeds of a few people have eroded the hard work of 55000+ employees, who have been at the front end beyond working hours, displaying extraordinary patience and commitment to their responsibilities.
I would like to reassure you that the bank has always been committed to the highest standards of operational control and continues to fully cooperate with the authorities. We have been tracking sudden surges in account activity and have proactively identified potentially suspicious accounts. This proactive identification has been one of the inputs in investigation by the regulatory authorities, who are visiting some of our branches to seek out information. Further, we have hired KPMG to conduct a forensic audit for enhanced due diligence and building more safeguards.
I assure you that the fundamentals of the bank, built painstakingly over the last 22 years, focused on serving its retail and corporate customers is on a solid footing. The Banker, a publication by the Financial Times, UK has ranked us amongst the safest banks in the world and we rank second in India. CRISIL the premier rating agency of the country has on December 2, 2016 reaffirmed its ratings on the banks’s existing debt instruments at ‘CRISIL AAA/Stable/CRISIL A1+”. The ratings reflect Axis Bank’s robust capitalisation, healthy resource profile and comfortable earnings.
If there is more information you seek at this time, do click here to visit this link. Also, our branch managers and relationship managers are always available to help in case of any assistance that you may require.
In closing, I am grateful for your support all through these years. We will always safeguard your interests because your trust matters the most. I look forward to your continued confidence in making us a safe, strong bank that is always focused on you.
MD & CEO Axis Bank