Standard Chartered Bank’s treatment of a Senior Citizen.

I have had an amazing start to this week. There have been three stories that I wish to post on my blog about Senior Citizens, Service and relationships. I shall do so in the next three posts unless something more urgent or interesting comes up.
The first of the stories is about a very good friend of mine who is a Senior Citizen. He is 75 and one of the gentlest people that I have ever known. I help him with his email and some other formal correspondence as he is completely lost with computers and requests me for help, which I am very happy to extend.
My friend, let us call him Anand, opened a bank account when he was 15 years old as a Minor’s Savings Bank account with his father as a joint account holder and guardian with the Lloyds Bank in Mumbai then known as Bombay. In the sixty years hence, that bank has undergone many changes, merging with, being taken over etc and went through new names such as Grind lays, ANZ, and finally, now it is Standard Chartered Bank. For sixty years, Anand has remained a steadfast loyal customer of the bank despite the many metamorphoses that it has gone through. Most of the employees there today were not perhaps born when he opened his account!
His Savings Bank today, is carrying a credit balance of over INR 300,000. He also has a couple of other long term deposits with the bank.
A few years ago, when Anand wished to go overseas, he had applied for and obtained a credit card from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which allowed him to use it for foreign exchange use over seas. Being a very careful spender, Anand has always been sparing in the use of the credit card and in settling the bills whenever they came, well before the due dates.
Early this year, SCB advised Anand that his Silver Card was due for renewal and considering his record, SCB was very happy to offer him a Gold Card with additional facilities. Anand accepted the offer and completed the formalities. Unfortunately when the card came through a courier service Anand was not at home and the card was returned. Since then, there have been phone calls and reminders between Anand and some Customer Service Call Center about this card and suddenly, last week, Anand received a call from the Call Center advising him that the card will be issued to him only if he gave SCB a letter authorizing SCB to debit his Savings Bank Account with any charges on the card.
Naturally, Anand was very upset and regretted his inability to issue such a letter. He requested the caller to send him a letter with reasons as to why this requirement has suddenly come about. The Caller advised Anand that this was BECAUSE ANAND IS A SENIOR CITIZEN! This was more shocking and Anand insisted, that a letter convey this to him. The caller, no doubt just a Customer Service Representative, expressed her inability to arrange for one. She advised Anand that since he was unwilling to give the desired letter, THE CREDIT CARD WAS BEING DE-ACTIVATED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
Anand had had enough and came to me with a request to type out a letter confirming this development and placing on record the fact the card had been de-activated. He desired to do this, as he did not want to suddenly discover that someone else had been using his deactivated card. I did as he requested and Anand promptly took the letter to the local branch of SCB and requested acknowledgment of receipt in a duplicate copy. The local branch REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE LETTER. They advised him to write a letter to their Card Center in Bangalore with a copy to some Customer Service Executive in Mumbai and also send an email to the Credit Card division.
Anand came back to me for these letters and email and all that was done last night. He has sent off the letters and copies by Registered Post and now is hoping that he will receive some response.
Is this how a Multinational Bank of repute should treat its loyal and long-standing customer? Should not the Call Center be taught to treat customers in a better way? Should the local office of the bank not handle a customer’s problem without being bureaucratic about it? What do you think Anand should do with his Savings Bank Account with SCB?

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