RBI’s action on HDFC Bank’s multiple digital outages reminded me of my experience with the bank. Bit off-topic, but sharing as it would throw light on digital capabilities of the bank:
In 2015, when the Govt launched PMJJBY (Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana) and PMSBY (Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana), I had opted-in for the program at HDFC Bank where annually Rs 330 + Rs 12 = total Rs 342 is the insurance premium amount. I had set-up a standing instruction for the premium debit with my HDFC bank account. I got an acknowledgment receipt.
In 2018, I was converting all my life, term and health insurance policies into digital format in an eIA (e Insurance account) so I reached out to HDFC Bank asking for the policy number of the PMJJBY and PMSBY policies. I was told there is no policy number, only the reference number in the acknowledgment slip is provided. I contested that SBI and other banks are allowing users to download PMJJBY and PMSBY policy certificates online. HDFC Bank has no provision for it. Through my bank manager who had become friendly, I got Aditya Puri’s email address. I sent him an email asking how do I trust the bank, how can I be sure that this is not another scam. Crores of customers have taken the PMJJBY and PMSBY policies which gets auto-renewed every year and HDFC Bank is not providing any policy details.
I received a response from his PA and Senior management that the said work is in progress and soon customers would be able to download the policy certificates online. It’s been over 2 years and yet the policy information is not available. In between, I responded back to that email asking if it will complete before you retire? No response received.
Last year RBI announced 24x7 NEFT free with faster settlement. Earlier NEFT transactions would take time to settle. If you have HDFC bank account and you initiate a payment, on the fund transfer page, by default IMPS is selected. It had happened with me a couple of times in the past that I forgot to select NEFT and after making payment I realized I paid through IMPS in hurry and it charged me about Rs 5 per transaction. I sent an email to Aditya Puri again saying now that RBI has made NEFT 24x7 free with faster settlement, why is NEFT not the default option selected. I have been a coder myself so I know it’s just one line of code change to set NEFT as the default option of the radio button, or you can remove the auto-selection of any option by default. By having IMPS as the default selection bank is making money on the ignorance of customers which doesn’t look good. When NEFT was not 24x7 fast, there was value in IMPS. But now the value is in NEFT. Moreover, let the customers decide how they want to pay. I got a response from the senior management that such decisions are taken by the technical team.
This apathy and slow speed of digital adaptation and resolution were enough for me to cut ties with HDFC bank. I removed the bank details from everywhere - insurance policies, mutual funds, salary account, demat account etc everywhere. I know my action of cutting ties with HDFC is a drop in an ocean but I can decide for myself at least.
So when I read about RBI’s action on HDFC bank, I was not surprised at all.