Banking in India is in crisis for some time since 2014, and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. One crucial problem in the banking industry is the problems of the bank staff. The staff strength is not adequate to commensurate with the increased business. With the Government of India forcing banks to increase credit, the staff is not able to cope up with the pressure of work. There has been a number of suicides by young staff, and a number of staff are quitting the bank job due to pressure of work and poor salary.
Public perception is that bank staff are well paid, and they work in airconditioned offices in a happy atmosphere. A brief analysis shows that this is not true.
Till 1979 bank officers’ salary was more than that of civil servants. The Pillai Committee recommendations made both at par. Subsequently, the civil servants got better salary through Pay Commissions but bankers’ salary did not grow equal, in spite of bipartite settlements. Today the basic salary of a civil servant at officer’s scale at entry-level is Rs.56,100/- whereas in banks it is just Rs.23,700/-. In the insurance sector it is Rs.32,795/-. In RBI, NABARD and SIDBI it is around Rs. 33,000/-. Hence youth do not see the job attractive.
RBI, NABARD, Central Govt offices and most of the State Government offices work 5 days a week whereas Banks have only 2 Saturday off. The bank staff today work up to late hours, but they are not paid any overtime. The work-life balance is not at all satisfactory, and banks are nowhere in the list of good places to work.
Maternity Benefit Act provides for crèches in offices where the staff strength is more, but in the banking sector, it is not implemented.
Retirees in the bank are also in a pitiable condition. The Govt employees on retirement get 50% of last drawn pay as pension, which is updated with every Pay Commission implementation, but in the Banking sector, it is not updated regularly with wage revision. SBI officers have a ceiling of 40% of last drawn pay as pension. Family pension in Govt is 30% of last drawn pay, whereas in most of the banks it is only 15%.
Govt employees have health care from good hospitals even after retirement, whereas the bankers are at the mercy of insurance companies. Individuals are able to get better service from hospitals with insurance than the industry level insurance scheme.
This is affecting the quality of staff in the banks, the quality of service and also the quality of credit.
Unless the Indian Bank Association and the Finance Ministry of Government of India address these issues, the future of banking and bank staff will be in crisis. We will have sub-standard staff, who will provide sub-standard services and the credit quality will also be sub-standard.
Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.