Dharamshala : Debate over poor functioning of public sector banks in the country is taking a toll on the working staff, who are given stiff targets to meet, with many of them being related to non-banking products.
“We, the Bank Officers of Nationalized Banks are under tremendous pressure,” says Deepak Sharma, vice-president All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOC).
“The workload is heavy, there is an acute shortage of staff and a lot of pressure is exerted down the line to push sale of mutual funds and insurance products to turn Banks into super markets of all such services, which are created by the managements and thereby misplacing the focus of bank officers from pure banking business, to marketing third party products,” elaborated Sharma.
He added that was causing depression and even suicidal tendencies in many staff members as they were unable to strike a balance between job requirements, appeasement of bosses, fear, threats, ethical values and family life.
Speaking to Hill Post Sharma said that in last few years, bank managements were exerting a lot of pressure to sell mutual funds and insurance products. “Sale of these products was linked with higher income, incentives of seniors, which included foreign tours, gala parties in five star hotels in exotic locations, recognition and rewards to best performers, promotions and other such perks,” he said.
Explaining the process, he added, “officers and other staff were being allured by these incentives. Sale of third party products was a major cause of mis-selling and is one of the prime reasons for deterioration in asset quality. The focus of the banks and the officials has shifted from core activity of lending, serving customers to just marketing third party products.”
The shift has been so intense that important banking activities like follow-up, monitoring and recovery of loans have been relegated to back stage. This environment is going to harm the very fabric of banking. As these third party products are sold on the basis of incentives, mis selling/ wrong selling / force selling is rampant, he said.
He said that there was an urgent necessity to stop handling of such non banking activities in banks for the interests of banks, employees and customers Bank managements should recruit sufficient staff to implement government sponsored schemes.
Demanding a salary revision of bankers Sharma said, “salary revision of bank employees is due since 1 November, 2017 but there no fruitful dialogue has been held till date.”
He said that attack on bankers were on the rise which was also hampering the loan recovery process. “The Government must provide us with a safe working condition.”
Sharma advocated a five day working week for bankers. He said, “the working conditions in banks is strenuous; poor infrastructure, lack of adequate staff is forcing bank officers to work late into the night, resulting in poor health and life style diseases, with many sinking into depression and repeated acts of suicides. Implementation of five day week will not only result in savings to the organisations in terms of overheads and bring human element in the officer’s life but also would enable a meaningful social life which in turn will result in higher efficiency in work place.”
Sharma also demanded the restoration of old pension scheme for new recruits.