13 October 2008

ICICI gets desperate

Looks like the largest private Indian bank is getting not merely anxious but desperate. News reports state that it has filed a police report against 'certain' brokers for spreading false rumours and calling these false rumours 'economic terrorism'.

This Friday, I withdrew most of my money from ICICI Bank, not because I have doubts about its capitalisation, but because I think it is the worst managed financial institution I have seen and I simply don't trust them in these trying times. See my blog of Sept 11th. I have had two other previous occassions to believe that they are more than just negligent. In the first instance, they misapproriated a cheque deposited into my account and would not respond to my written complaints till I filed a consumer complaint - after which they paid me the amount misappropriated with damages and interest and the matter was settled in the court (this was ten years back).

Over the past one year I have struggeled with them to get back my Fixed Deposit money, which they would not return (or pay any interest) asking for the return of FD certificates - which certificates they never gave to me in the first place. Finally, after pursuing the matter for one year with one of the directors of ICICI, I was able to get my money back (they found these certificates in some other branch in the same city apparently). Both incidents make me suspect that they try to sit on investor float whereever they possibly can. Any complaint is met with call centre type stock responses (not by call centres but by relatively senior 'relationship managers'). Though every institution makes mistakes, not redressing the mistakes for months on end hardly seems like a winning strategy in the long run, growth or no growth.

My colleague TT Ram Mohan has blogged on ICICI's aggression amongst other things a few hours back.

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