"What financial inclusion requires most of all is efficient and sympathetic customer service by banks. No amount of regulation, rules, policies and plans will deliver sustainable results unless banks serve their customers with efficiency, empathy and courtesy," Subbarao said at an IOB event here.
"Banks should look upon financial inclusion not as an obligation but as an opportunity to build fortune at the bottom of the pyramid ... We need to supplement supply side effort by a demand side effort - by reaching out to people left behind...," he said. The RBI chief said that the impression that he got from a conference of bank branch managers and some low income households, was that poor people were getting 'disappointing' banking services.
"The general impression I got is that frontline branch managers treat no-frills accounts as a nuisance and low income households as an intrusion into their time and their business. This is disappointing to say the least," Subbarao said. The number of no-frills account holders has more than doubled to 103.21 million in the year ending March 31, 2012, from 49.33 million in March 2010.
The RBI has launched the financial inclusion programme to provide services to people in unbanked areas for connecting people with the mainstream financial institutions. During March 2010-March 2012, total number of banking outlets grew to 1,47,534, from 54,258 outlets.