Banks must serve in the local Language

Image Credit: The Economic Times

Nirmala Sitharaman is an Indian economist and Politician serving as a minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India since 2019. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has repeatedly stressed that banks should appoint staff who speak the local language, but in Karnataka, it is a different story altogether. The failure of both public and private sector banks to provide challans and forms in Kannada and appoint staff who can interact in the local language has come in the way of customers, especially in the rural areas, being able to avail of various banking services, including loans. As a result, Karnataka has a low bank credit to GSDP ratio of 40.5%, which is below the national average of 56.7%. The state also lags its neighbors like Telangana and Tamil Nadu on this metric. Addressing the 75th Annual General Meeting of Indian Banks some time ago, Sitharaman had urged banks to be inclusive in their recruitment and had insisted that staff who could not speak the local language should not be assigned to customer-facing roles.  “When you have staff at the branch level who do not talk in the regional language and who are ‘patriotic’ enough to say “hey, you don’t talk Hindi, maybe you are not Indian” … I think, that doesn’t do any good for business,” she had said. Banks, she had also added, should be proactive and ready to meet customers wherever they want and do business with them, while keeping the norms intact. Bank management has failed to implement repeated instructions both from the Centre and the state and it is unlikely that they will fall in line unless the government cracks the whip. It’s high time that banks, especially the public sector banks, realized that customers have the right to be served on their own language.

Staff Writer