Government-owned banks have performed better than their private peers in terms of customer service.
The latest 2008-09 data points out that out of 69,117 complaints received at 15 banking ombudsman offices throughout the country, 21,982 complaints were against private banks. This accounts for almost 32 percent of the total complaints and is higher than their market share of 18 percent.
However, the largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) and its associates accounted for almost 26 percent (18,167 complaints) of the total complaints received by the banking ombudsman. SBI group comprises 24 percent of the advances and deposits.
Foreign banks with a five percent market share constituted 17 percent of the complaints. They received 11,700 complaints regarding deficiencies in their services.
The banking ombudsman received around 20 percent of the total complaints against the 20 public sector banks. PSU banks have a market share of 50 percent. None of the nationalized banks is in the top five against which the highest number of complaints were received last year.
SBI is placed at the top in the complaints' list with 18,167 complaints, next is ICICI bank with 11,543 complaints, followed by HDFC Bank with 6,584 complaints, HSBC (2,838) and Citibank (2,563)
In the preceding three years (FY'06-08), 29 per cent of the complaints were against the SBI group, while 27 per cent were against other nationalised banks, followed by private (25 per cent) and foreign banks (11 per cent).
The data reveals that complaints against all categories of banks are on a rise, of which over three times is for private banks and four times for foreign banks.
For an effective complaint redressal mechanism and to strengthen customer services in banks, the apex bank in July issued a circular for a four-tier institutional arrangement comprising a committee of the board, standing committee of executives, a nodal department at the head office and controlling offices, and a committee at the branch level, for customer service.