Changing banking and spending patterns require new skills from professionals
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Changing banking and spending patterns require new skills from professionals

Not so long ago, withdrawing a hundred rupees from the bank meant going to the branch, filling out the withdrawal form, waiting in line for a token, and waiting your turn at the counter for the teller to give you your money.

The process was just so boring and irritating that one would do almost anything to avoid having to go there too much. As a result, most people stretched their rupee a bit more before being forced to make the next trip to the bank. All other banking activities were also equally cumbersome and time consuming. And to top it off you had to deal with the arrogant and rude behavior of the staff. They behaved, and some still behave, as if they were doing you a great favor. No matter that you were managing your own money, and your client paid his wages, they still made you feel like a beggar. No wonder people hated banks, and having to go to the bank was such a chore.

Fortunately, things have changed so much these days that banking is almost a pleasure. With ATMs popping up everywhere, withdrawing money is quick, easy, and hassle-free. No more endless queues, no more rude cashiers, no more waiting. All other types of transactions have also been simplified. You can drop checks in drop boxes at all ATMs, instead of having to deposit them at the branch yourself. From paying bills to paying your credit cards, ATMs, and phone and Internet banking are easy ways to do most banking. You don’t even have to leave your house anymore. Pick up the phone and call as needed, log into the bank’s website and click through to your banking solutions. And with the advent of money apps and online maps, you don’t even need a bank account anymore! Even sites like Amazon are getting going now, and online transactions for DMAT accounts mean you can invest, manage investments, trade and settle – all without ever setting foot in a bank or looking at a broker or CPA!

Even things like loans have become much easier! You no longer have to feel that you are the supplicant who comes to beg the lord and the master to give you a small part of his generosity. The customer is no longer the beggar now, and while he may not be the king yet, at least he is in a position of some advantage. Also, with private and international banks fighting in the Indian arena, banks old and new have finally realized that they are in the service industry. Unless they teach their employees to smile and be nice to customers, the customer will take their business elsewhere.

However, all these advantages are not without some disadvantages. Banking has become much more impersonal now, and one no longer builds a relationship with a particular bank, branch, or employee. While phone and web banking have made life easier, they have also increased your security risk, and phishing and other types of scams are on the rise. And, worst of all from the point of view of the younger generation, the easy access provided by ATMs and apps has made it much easier to overspend. Credit cards are dangerous in the hands of the undisciplined or impulsive and, in general, cheating has multiplied.

That means a few things for both clients and professionals in the BFSI (banking and financial services industry). Where customers need to learn the proper use of some apps and sites, and be careful about spending and sharing information, professionals have a heavier burden. It is no longer enough to be the “banker” who sits in the cubicle and dominates paper and people. It has become essential to be well-versed in the basics of a variety of technology platforms, as well as mastering subject skills in finance and accounting. In addition, today’s successful hireable, employable, and successful banking employee must also be adept at communicating across the media, the nuances, and differences in selling face-to-face or over the phone or online. They must master the art of “hooking” people in 30 seconds or less, learn to keep up with this fast-moving world, and acquire the specific skill set for online selling and service. This is no longer the requirement for the future, it is necessary today! The future is now!

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