Citibank – Professional Bankers or Hacks

27 Nov

A close friend of mine recently closed his home loan with Citibank. He paid his dues in full. Yet after more than 2 months, Citibank has NOT returned his papers to him. Because Citi is a fully automated bank, he cannot talk to the same person twice (if he can get a person at all). He is running from pillar to post trying to get his documents. Citi will probably charge him an interest for THEIR delay as well. Their excuse for the last 3 weeks has been that the papers are in Chennai. Even monkey mail would have made it to Bangalore by now.

Just observed that they (Citibank) have been doing a lot of advertising recently on some kind of re-branding. Knowing stories like my friend makes me think about how much hogwash these guys are perpetrating.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

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43 Responses to “Citibank – Professional Bankers or Hacks”

  1. decemberstud November 27, 2006 at 9:45 pm #

    Aggghhh…another case of Americanization and automation woes….

  2. Srik November 28, 2006 at 6:25 am #

    Yes, heres another case. My frnd.
    He had taken a personal loan with them to be re-paid in two years. But as he started paying the EMIs, there came one by one hidden charges.. and finally bugged after one year, he went and requested them to close down the account.
    They refused and finally they struck a deal that he pay some interest on the pre-closure and closed it. But the whole excercize took three months and at the end of the whole bargain, when calculated, he ended paying almost double the amount borrowed. And when checked, it was all there in the LAW(?!!) and the delay on their part was because the ‘papers needed to be dispatched from Chennai’!!

  3. Murali Partha November 28, 2006 at 6:48 am #

    It has happened with me – not a preclosure but an top-up loan on an existing one with StanChart. When I wanted to apply for the top-up I realized that StanChart had not given me the original loan’s approval papers itself. So I asked for the same and guess what – it took them 3 weeks and many reminders from me – to get the letter. But the funny thing is, again the excuse I received was “papers in Chennai”.
    I think the problem is not with these poor professional banks but the Chennai weather. The seaside air there ensures that their high-security lockers that keep our papers safe are so corroded that every time they have to open it they have to get a guy with a blow-torch to force it open – keys do not work. That is HARD WORK. Takes 3 weeks to get it done. Stop complaining.

    But why do all the banks use Chennai to store the papers?

  4. Vijay November 28, 2006 at 8:05 am #

    Murali:

    I had an “experience” with StanChart as well when I closed my home loan but it was nothing compared to the Citi one that my friend is having…

    Maybe all Bangalore papers are “stored” in Chennai and all Chennai papers in Bangalore.. that way they fleece you for the “extra” payments…

    My personal experience, with all their “paperwork and babudom” Nationalized banks are more human.

    Srik:
    Isnt it amazing that WE have to pay for THEIR inefficiencies? Of course it will be all there in fine print… private multinational banks are big on these kinds of “lawful” scams.

  5. Murali Partha November 28, 2006 at 1:05 pm #

    Vijay:
    Completely agree with you on the level of service of Nationalized banks. My favorite bank is UTI – even though it is not one of those true-blue nationalized bank, it is still desi at heart.
    My recent favourite banking experience is at an Indian Bank branch near my house. When I was contemplating whether or not to open an account at this branch, the branch manager himself landed up at my house (based on preliminary enquiry info I had passed on) to convince me that he will take good care of my needs. I now have an account there and yes, the bank manager personally comes home to give me my check books, pass book etc. Very down to earth and friendly, humane service. I now know about his family and he about mine – it is not just business any more.

  6. Vijay November 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm #

    Murali: Bank of India is my favorite.. without these guys we would not have survived as a business.. the interesting thing about these guys is that they are NOT looking for any favours.. they work from the heart… at least the ones I know… as you said its not business any more

  7. rk November 28, 2006 at 2:18 pm #

    CITIBANK alla sir adhu, SITT barso banku.
    i opened an a/c early this year. they gave e a temporary card then. even today, they tell the permanent card is under process. i am fed up asking them to send the perm. card with my name. since this temp. card is working, i am not too bothered.
    personally, i love canara bank. as murali partha said, canara bank manager came to my place sometime in the mid 90s and since then i have been satisfied with their service.

  8. some body November 28, 2006 at 2:36 pm #

    until now, i kept quiet because i did not have anything to report on the service, good or bad.

    but now, i am curious. correct me if i have misunderstood, but all of you appear to be saying that you got good service from nationalized indian banks. so why go with citibank? is it the brand name factor? or was it one of our famous cricketers or actresses who was the deciding factor? or were (are) they giving relatively high rates of interest?

    – s.b.

  9. rk November 29, 2006 at 6:27 am #

    s.b.,
    i was forced to open an a/c. bcoz our office credited the salary in citibank a/c. otherwise you see, i had never opened an a/c in citibank. i asked my accounts dept. if they could give me cheque every month so that i could deposit it in my fav. bank. the answer was in the negative. now you know why i have my a/c with SITT BANK. πŸ˜‰

  10. Vijay November 29, 2006 at 7:05 am #

    SB: When these MNC banks came in, they made things easier (or so we thought) by reducing paperwork. Nationalized banks did not have the greatest Customer Service. However what because apparent with the so called MNC types was that there was so much fine print that you could’nt hold them accountable for anything. Then came the “Self Help” call centers that they started. Now the bank became an ATM machine. In the meantime, the Nationalized banks have upped their customer service without losing the human touch.

    Citibank seems to be the worst from the stories I’ve heard.

    I was at a function organized by Bank of India for their centenary celeblations. Nandan Nilikeni (Infosys) was the chief guest. His statement was… “When Infosys was small.. none of the so called International Banks wanted to have anything to do with us. It was only the Govt. Financial Institutions that helped”.

  11. prashanth November 29, 2006 at 9:02 am #

    Its the same with all the banks – be it Citi or StanChart or HSBC or any other… Better to stick to SBI or Canara πŸ™‚

    //My friend got a call from some bank — and we had fun –
    Lady: Sir , this is xyz calling form abc bank. We are providing life time free credit card.
    Friend: Is it? Thats good. BTW whats a credit card?
    Lady: You can use the card for shopping and pay money later.
    Friend: Whats money?
    Lady: .
    And after few seconds line goes ‘beep’. πŸ˜›

  12. Vijay November 29, 2006 at 10:52 am #

    Prashanth: LOL… Agree with you 100% … Namma local banks are best… these days I hang up as soon as I get a call from any of these banks looking to peddle their stuff…

  13. Kishor Cariappa November 29, 2006 at 1:01 pm #

    At the end of the day all banks was their own merits and demerits. If Citibank is awful, I’ve had my share of very bad experiences with HDFC and ICICI too. Now, SBI looks promising to me. They are to the point and without any unnecessary hype or tall claims.

  14. some body November 29, 2006 at 3:00 pm #

    rk:

    that is really wierd. this is what happens when western ideas are implemented half-baked.

    in most companies here in the usa – for those who are unaware – you can direct deposit to any bank (yes, the initial deposit will take more time than normal), and you can even split across banks.

    – s.b.

  15. decemberstud November 29, 2006 at 8:02 pm #

    SB,

    That’s a very common practice in India. Almost 10 years back when GTB was big, a lot of companies deposited the salary in GTB, and thus employees were forced to open accounts there.

  16. Srik November 30, 2006 at 6:10 am #

    Central Bank of India, Yes, its where I have a housing loan processed, and you know what, the senior manager of the branch himself visited personally the plot where the house was to be constructed, he himself walked upto the house of the person who chose to do the introduction and finally, he also joined us to the Subregistrar’s office where we were supposed to register the house, making sure that we not get cheated…! I think this is something extraordinary and that has made me agree to most of the comments here!! I completely agree to the point that “with all their β€œpaperwork and babudom” Nationalized banks are more human and dependable.”

  17. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 7:59 am #

    Its all about how you handle them.. I strongly say this…
    Prashanth hates Canara bank.. they asked him for mane papers as a security when he was searching for the bank loan.. then BOI just did it on my signature.. Do I say this is bad & that is good..?
    I have my credit card, suvidha account & many things in Sittu barso bank.. I recently redeemed around 2000 points in landmark which was accumulated past 4 years.
    Vijay, you just ask people to complain.. & they form a Queue πŸ˜‰

  18. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 8:02 am #

    To add to this, its YOU who do not pay the Credit card bill on time & then its YOU who shouts at their hefty prices.. Is somebody forcing you to have their credit card ? .. They say Free lifetime credit card & people say.. oh its free.. let me posses it.. Ha Ha.. I recently had an argument with somebody at my work regarding the same issues!
    We have another account called ERA which is used to deposit our reimbursements into.. People who has their salary account in some nationalised bank are so irritated with this idea..

    All said & done, I am pretty impressed with the online facitlity they provide & the ATM’s they have on almost every streets on bangalore! The opinions differes of course!!

  19. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 8:08 am #

    I had a personal loan last year & I had to follow it up on emails from US when I wanted to preclose.. The preclosing formalities are same in every bank is what I heard about.
    BOI has an option to pay how much ever money you like(>=EMI) .. I fell in love with that manager Mrs Champa Narasimhan , she wore smiles up her sleeves.. Thats all it matters! Not everybody is good nor bad.. I would say Canara bank manager was a man & she was lady.. πŸ˜‰ ;-);-)

  20. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 8:10 am #

    Read my earlier comment as I would say Canara bank manager is a man & she is lady.. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  21. Vijay November 30, 2006 at 10:51 am #

    Veena: My peeve was just at the housing loan thing that my friend was facing…

    I have never had an account with Sittu Bankoo..

  22. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 11:17 am #

    Was that tooooooo much to say..? Probably DS made me write too many things.. When I can’t say this on somebody’s face, these blog comments help me out to be more easier to be furious!
    Thanks for being so polite saaaaaar.

  23. Vijay November 30, 2006 at 11:51 am #

    DS: Its yella your fault….

    Veena: Nothing is toooooo much… say away.. no problems πŸ™‚

    By the way, your earlier comment has given me another idea for a post.. I’ll let you know when I do post and see if your comment holds true πŸ™‚

  24. Veena Shivanna November 30, 2006 at 3:11 pm #

    Furiousity now turns to Curiosity… I guessed some topics out of my comments, but I will wait for it…
    Happy Worlds AIDS day Vijay πŸ˜‰ See Bellur’s blog for more gyan.. he says better not to take chance anthe..!!

  25. decemberstud November 30, 2006 at 7:11 pm #

    I know I know…it’s all my fault…I make people think πŸ˜‰

  26. Murali Partha December 1, 2006 at 4:56 am #

    I am confused! It must be because I am yet to “know” this circle of people well. Dumb as I am, I think something’s touched a raw nerve in Veena. Is it because she has been responsible for some x thousand salary accounts to be opened at Sittu Banku or that she is one of these foreign bank executives? πŸ˜‰

    Secondly, Veena – why a specific instruction to Vijay alone about the World AIDS day? We do know about Vijay’s general ignorance about these things – but still…

  27. Veena Shivanna December 1, 2006 at 5:08 am #

    Murali, Nice guess.. I am very bad at all that you said. I can never be responsible for such a biggest & toughest jobs .. I purchased a book called ‘You can sell anything to anybody’ from the recent book fair I visited.

    I beleive pulling leg is an art & it depends on who is on the other side of the table. I consider only few people in the blog world as the eligible people ! Otherwise I get into furiosity again! Nothing much intended. πŸ˜‰

    DS.. jaasti aaytu… taavu yochane maadi saaku.. modlu neevu india ge bandu Mrs DS na nammagella introduce maadsi, ond kai nodkoteevi πŸ˜‰ Is it ond kai or ond kivi or ond brain(maansu or hridya again?) πŸ˜‰ fully Jinxed!!

  28. Veena Shivanna December 1, 2006 at 5:15 am #

    Vijaya saahebru ivattu neevu Bellur ibru busy na ? First meeting(?), first love, first day @ work, first is always important & unforgettable…
    nimma next post ge swalpa food for thought! The source is some jinx forward! πŸ˜‰

    =======================================

    I recently read that love is entirely a matter of chemistry. That must be why my wife treats me like toxic waste.
    –David Bissonette

    When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
    –Sacha Guitry

    After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.
    –Hemant Joshi

    By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
    –Socrates

    (mga pare this one i like,,,sori mga mare…jms) Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.
    –Dumas

    The great question… which I have not been able to answer… is, “What does a woman want?
    –Sigmund Freud

    I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
    –Anonymous

    “Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
    –Henry Youngman

    “I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”
    –Sam Kinison

    “There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.”
    –James Holt McGavran

    “I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.”
    –Patrick Murray

    Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming 1. Whenever you’re wrong, admit it, 2. Whenever you’re right, shut up.
    –Nash

    The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once…
    –Anonymous

    You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.
    –Henny Youngman

    My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
    –Rodney Dangerfield

    A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
    –Milton Berle

    Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.
    –Anonymous

    A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: “Wife wanted”. Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”
    –Anonymous

    First Guy (proudly): “My wife’s an angel!”
    Second Guy “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”
    ========================================

    Pls show this to your wife also.. Tell her about me too.. Somebody lady who can resist Cribbing antha πŸ˜‰

  29. Vijay December 1, 2006 at 5:36 am #

    Murali: These “double edged” remarks…. well… I’ll get even with you.

    Veena: Just had Dose at Adigas with Bellur who is now totally immersed in his work.. paapa..

    Guys.. all comments welcome… Furious, Curious, Other-ious… etc

  30. Srik December 1, 2006 at 7:07 am #

    Vijay sahebre…
    Bellur ge solpa blog active agi iDakke time koDtira illwa?? πŸ˜‰

    Creative person as he is.. we miss it otherwise!!

    Dose…!! AHA Bellur, have you infected your Dose prema(oops chutney prema) to your boss too? And that on the first day??!!

    Well…thats something to be wary off Vijay πŸ™‚

  31. Vijay December 1, 2006 at 7:12 am #

    Srik: Blogging is still ver much on for Mr. Bellur… on the Dose thing, I don’t know who is worse.. RK or me…

  32. Srik December 1, 2006 at 7:41 am #

    Yeah since the days of your Vidyarthi bhavan trips πŸ˜‰

    Two Dose Lovers together!! And so..now on.. your wife need not pack lunch for you πŸ™‚

  33. Vani December 1, 2006 at 9:10 am #

    Aha….haagalakai ge bevinakai jothe sikka haage….both of you have fun!

    How I wish I had a similar boss!

  34. Veena Shivanna December 1, 2006 at 9:29 am #

    Vani, don’t get mistaken like this.. Bossses are bosses.. no matter what!!!!… The other side of the grass is always greener. Do you know that song from the movie Jwaala mukhi.. which belongs to the raaga chakravaaka..
    Raj sings & gayathri argues & has the pallavi like…
    HELUVUDU ondu.. πŸ˜‰
    I strongly feel personal & professional relationships are 2 different things! I generally resist mixing both!

  35. decemberstud December 1, 2006 at 7:47 pm #

    Hey Saaaar, I thought you were going to hire *me* ??? πŸ˜‰ Am, I the only one sitting on the other side of the globe 😦

    @ Veena : yOchisi yOchisi bOru…..Mrs DS paapa jAsti mAtADalla, sumne hedarisabEDi πŸ™‚

  36. some body December 4, 2006 at 7:26 pm #

    here are some citi stories

    – s.b.

  37. Vijay December 5, 2006 at 7:16 am #

    sb: Great Link…. thanks

  38. Mysorean December 11, 2006 at 11:32 am #

    Thankfully I once took a loan from Citibank, and foreclosed it without any problems and no paper-kidnapping problem either! But I guess, I was among the few lucky ones going by the stories here!

  39. Deepak Kumar Vasudevan January 20, 2007 at 9:33 am #

    In my opinion, Citibank and ICICI are just trained and well-trained plunderers of the nation. Good for nothing 24×7 call center who just stand testimony or a typical Thikkuvay Thandavarayan case study.

    Best –> Bank with SBI or one of its associate banks.

  40. Vijay January 21, 2007 at 2:26 am #

    Deepak: There are a lot of people who feel like you…at the end of the day, I think our state owned banks are more “human”..

  41. Vasudevan Deepak Kumar January 21, 2007 at 2:33 pm #

    @Vijay,

    You are absolutely right. I have one more interesting experience with Citibank to share. I have put the entire stuff in a conversational tone here.

  42. Naveen March 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    Citibnak is one of the worst banking experience I had and still having. They have messed up my entire investments and they actually lie and their staff support it. They havent been sending me statemnts and when tried sending mails from online banking it never goes, i have many investments with them in USD and now trying to close all but havent got anyone to talk to as on date. The worst bank ever compare to my other existing banks like ICICI (even they r almost gone case) ABN Amro, HDFC, HSBC, Canara BAnk, CBK etc
    Think twice before thinking Citibank

  43. tv brackets April 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    I had same trouble applying additional Citibank credit card for my wife. For two months, I had to send the document several times. I wanted to complain, but didn’t know who to call, they all kept on saying the same thing (as trained perhaps).

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