Finance Minister Asks Banks To Be More Customer-Friendly

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked banks to adopt a more customer-friendly approach

Mumbai:

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that banks need to be more customer-friendly in their approach so that credit availing becomes hassle-free.

Ms Sitharaman said this during a post-budget discussion with industry representatives in Mumbai, making it clear at the same time that banks don’t have to be lenient on credit underwriting standards by taking any adverse risks on a proposal.

During the interaction, there was a suggestion from a start-up representative for credit to be available hassle-free, to which State Bank of India’s chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara said a startup’s worries are more on the equity side and assured full support in lending if sufficient equity is on the table.

Stressing that the person asking the question is a woman operating an innovative enterprise, Ms Sitharaman had a few suggestions for the banking community and also spoke out against their attitude.

“Initially, Mr Khara gave a very bland answer. And then after being prompted somewhat, he went into talking about a scheme which has a lot of government support, the credit guarantee fund trust for micro and small enterprises (CGTMSE),” she said.

“Banks will have to be a lot more customer friendly. Not to the extent of taking adverse risks which you don’t need to take, but you need to be a lot more friendly to customers,” the minister said.

Mr Khara said the focus is on increasing the reliance on end-to-end digitalisation of the process, which will ensure a hassle-free experience.

He said in the next two months, the bank will go fully digital for lending. Also, provided there is credible cashflow visibility available to a bank, the credit growth to small businesses can touch that of personal loans over time.

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