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A European thanking HDFC bank — Indian diary (7)
November 18th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

A European thanking HDFC bank — Indian diary (7)

   As a European, I realised a particular deficit in communication: it's really hard to open a bank account in India, even as a Person of Indian Origin, if you're a citizen of one European country living in another European country  (in my case: French with an address in the U.K.). And the reason is that Europeans  are so little making themselves known as such;  most Europeans still communicate in national terms first, and European terms second (if at all) so, when I attempted to open a bank account, people naturally would ask me to provide the visa that allows me to live in the U.K!

   Now, most people wouldn't ask an American born in New York to provide a visa justifying (s)he can live in California, and most people wouldn't ask either an Indian born in Gujarat to provide a visa justifying (s)he can live in Tamil Nadu…
   Indians have no difficulty to understand the concept of an union of states, they live in such an union! But they just don't know Europe is actually organised as such! I don't blame Indians for that, but Europeans in general and European politicians in particular!

   Our politicians, always so eager to claim any success as theirs (even if it's a European project) and blame any failure on Europe (even if it's a purely-local policy), are just poor-performers. It is a shame that citizens continue to vote into power politicians and national governments who are so disingenuous (while thinking very highly of themselves as nations of course… and seeing e.g. India as "third world").
   Europe has rarely known such a long period of peace. There still are tensions of course, but we don't go to war with each other anymore, and many travel, live, work and even marry across borders. Europe is one of the best political successes in recent history. Our current national politicians don't give a damn about this, too busy they are to ride the populist wave of discontent.
   Fortunately, not all people on this planet are as useless as national politicians in Europe.

   After pitiful attempts with ICICI where my interlocutor was doing absolutely nothing to help the case move forward, I was welcome at +HDFC Bank.
   Of course, HDFC Bank did their checks seriously, so it took some time to establish that as a French citizen I didn't actually need a visa to live, work, marry, etc. in the UK. It took some time but… Senthilkumar Shanmugam and Malathi Anbalagen, at the Kilpauk branch in Chennai, did follow up on my application until relevant documentation was established/confirmed and the account is now working. Visibly people in the head office in Mumbai (and probably a few middle managers as well) did their job too, sought documentation, etc. without endless postponing or dragging their feet.
   So some people in this world don't just "do nothing and blame others", they actually care about doing their job properly, picking up the phone, sorting issues… and I met two of these people in particular in an Indian bank that I now recommend.

   It's always easy to hide behind "someone in the back office" or behind "procedures". It's always easy not  to pick up the phone, not  to care, not  to risk upsetting a manager, not  to risk showing that one has missed a detail, not  to follow up until the client calls back, hoping for any difficulty to just magically disappear… It's easy to just do the minimum for which you won't be sacked, hoping a promotion will fall thanks to years without mistake (it's easier to avoid mistakes when not doing anything)!
   It takes well-meaning people to see that procedures might have an important function (e.g. to prevent black money) but they are not just there for them to hide and blame while sitting at their desk, waiting for their salary, helping no one.

   Intentions do matter.
   I'm grateful to the employees of +HDFC Bank, because, thanks to their help, I can now more easily continue helping others. When all of us are mindful and willing, the world is  a better place; but it takes each of us to do our share, not to count on others!
   And I'm not so grateful to the European political class and to nationalist European citizens, who perpetuate our image as a bunch of infighting nations rather than a European union.

  #Europe   #India   #jobwelldone