Wanted: More Honest Bankers
In the old days banks were places where you went and talked to the friendly manager. You’d tell him you had some money to invest and he’d tell you how to. Today’s bank managers are too friendly—they’ll ring you up or come home to tell you that you have some money to invest and how they’ll invest it for you. If all that’s a bit confusing, learn from our cover story about Mr Mangelal Sharma and others.
Five years ago, it was bankers who, in their rush for profits and personal bonuses, caused the Great Recession from which we still haven’t recovered. No lessons have been learnt. Many bankers remain greedy and fiendishly competitive. With no conscience at all, they’ll bluff and cheat customers, you and I, by cleverly tricking you into investments that fetch profits and promotions for them. They’ll pry into your existing investments and send their “relationship managers” to you asking that you switch to ULIPs or mutual funds you may not understand or benefit from. They even trick the authorities. Between June and July, following a damning exposé by Cobrapost.com, an internet news portal, the Reserve Bank of India fined 25 leading banks a total of ` 60 crore for breaking rules or criminally promoting money-laundering activities! So far, the bankers involved seem to have got away while their companies, the banks, pay the fines.
Our cover story is not an exposé, since The Digest’s prime duty is to educate readers. We wrote it our own way, without naming or shaming any of the banks involved, with much hope that it will also be a reminder to all bankers that they are the guardians of our daily bread as well as the wider economy.
Nearly all Digest articles are written by our staff or by professional journalists, but there are a few regular sections, including our jokes pages, open to anybody. This month, a retired IAF serviceman tells us his story—and it’s not Humour in Uniform. It’s in My Story: A heart-warming account of his lifelong friendship with a fellow airman. Likewise, most of us will have a true story to tell. Where’s yours?