Thursday, January 21, 2010

Demand Passbook from ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank for your SB Account

Republic of the Philippines , one of populated country in South East Asia. While I was preparing for a Business VISA for Philippines, I observed that Philippines Visa guidelines are more stringent than US Visa guidelines! Well…they strictly demands bank statement of applicant for last 6 months and other dozens of documents.
Now, my salary account is with ICICI Bank, Aundh Branch, Pune. I used to receive quarterly statement of my savings bank account from ICICI Bank, but the flag was suddenly changed to Annual from 2009-2010. When I ringed Customer Care for statement of last 6 months, they offered two options – 1) Statement by courier – 7 days- free of charge 2) Statement by hand –immediately-at any ICICI Branch at a cost of Rs.100+taxes.
Since I am a heavy internet banking user of ICICI Bank, I really never cared for original statement. I strongly felt unethical business practice of ICICI Bank to force customer to BUY statement of account. I spoke with my brother who is a Vice President at a private bank and he hinted that Reserve Bank of India may have issued a circular which mandates all banks (private as well as nationalized) to issue a Pass book free of any charge. I googled around and found a master circular issued by Reserve Bank of India addressing to all scheduled commercial banks.
I then went to ICICI Bank, Bhandarkar Road Branch and again got offer from the officer as mentioned above. When I quoted Para 5.6.1 of master circular number -RBI / 2009-10 / 57 dated 1st July, 2009 issued by Reserve Bank of India, which reads as below –
“5.6.1 Issuance of Passbooks to Savings Bank Account holders (Individuals) A passbook is a ready reckoner of transactions and is handy and compact and as such, is far more convenient to the small customer than a statement of account. Use of statements has some inherent difficulties viz. (a) these need to be filed regularly (b) the opening balance needs to be tallied with closing balance of last statement (c) loss of statements in postal transit is not uncommon and obtaining duplicates thereof involves expense and inconvenience (d) ATM slips during the interregnum between two statements does not provide a satisfactory solution as full record of transactions is not available and (e) there are a large number of small customers who do not have access to computers / internet etc. As such, non-issuance of pass-books to such small customers would indirectly lead to their financial exclusion.
Banks are therefore advised to invariably offer pass book facility to all its savings bank account holders (individuals) and in case the bank offers the facility of sending statement of account and the customer chooses to get statement of account, the banks must issue monthly statement of accounts. The cost of providing such Pass Book or Statements should not be charged to the customer.”

The officer surprised and with no argument went to stationery room and inaugurated the Pass-Book Box. To the best of my judgment, I was the first customer to ask for Bank Pass book from ICICI Bank – Bhandarkar Road Branch.
The Pass book of ICICI Bank is indeed very stylish and very useful to maintain. Pictures are pasted here for your curiosity.

First Page contains name and adress. Cover Page...pocket size file-folder.

Do not hesitate refer above circular reference and get your bank passbook.
Advantages of Bank Pass Book -
  1. You need to maintain one document only.
  2. Your dependency on courier to receive monthly/quarterly statements reduces as you can update passbook anytime.
  3. Free of Cost under RBI regulations
  4. Easy to store and carry.
  5. Can also serve as Address Proof.
Only Limitation is that you may need to visit Bank once in a quarter (depending on volume of your transactions) to update the passbook.
Humble request to all to take opinion poll on this subject.


Disclaimer: Writer of the blog do not intend to assault ICICI Bank and/or any of its branch. In fact he is a happy customer of ICICI Bank Ltd. This blog post only intend to remind readers/bank customers for their right to receive Bank Passbook free of cost. Any wrong interpretations and inappropriate actions taken on the basis of this blog post is the sole responsibility of reader.