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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 December, 2013, 08:34Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


I normally refrain from naming anybody on this forum but, since this post is specifically about one name, I'll go with the flow in my comment.

At least HSBC paid out your account balance when they closed your account, or so I understand from your Huffington Post blog post. 

I can't say the same about many 21st century nonbank financial services providers: In my experience, they take their fees, freeze your accounts and hold on to your account balance for months.

I've had this experience with PayPal (Cf. Is It Adios To PayPal From India? on my personal blog). I'm currently having this experience with M-PESA. I'm waiting for this episode to end before I publish a blog post about it but here's a spoiler alert: I've paid my account opening deposit, Vodafone has taken its fees but my money is stuck while my account is flagged under different statuses in various channels viz. 'limited' per SMS, 'active' per telephone, 'not yet rejected' per physical store.

Given a choice between the inflexibility of banks and lack of integrity of nonbanks, I'd always prefer rigidity over cheats when it comes to where I'll keep my money. Maybe that's only me.

Since you believe that HSBC has done something that is "guaranteed to burn the relationship", I hope you've switched your account to someone else who offers business banking and has designed its customer-facing processes around Klout Score, blog readership and other social media metrics per your expectations with 21st century banking. 

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 04 December, 2013, 14:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@Ketharaman - I have engaged with another bank, but it's not based on klout score or social media - it's based on their digital platform for my banking needs (can I do everything I need online) and on their service approach.

In terms of HSBC - it's a shame. I was a dedicated customer of theirs for 15 years and I worked closely with them in the trenches for almost 10 years, the last thing I wanted to do was bad mouth them in a forum like this. But, they simply had too badly broken a process and without a path to resolution for customers, on such a critical relationship point, I felt I was left with only one course of action.

While HSBC did reinstate my account, and apologize, the bigger news here is what has happened as a result of my post:

  1. They are giving customers now until January 10th to move their account
  2. They are sending out emails in addition to snail mail to notify customers
  3. Their call centre staff have a revised set of instructions and protocols

It would appear that HSBC themselves agreed that some of their process was defective and they have addressed that. You seem to think I was too harsh on HSBC because they didn't respond to my social media requests, but that's not what I was trying to achieve. The above for me is a victory for customers, and shows simply that it just isn't that hard to fix some of these things.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 December, 2013, 16:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


I was actually asking if you found a bank that deals with you based on social media metrics. I alluded to your naming and shaming only to lay the ground for me to do the same with PayPal and M-PESA! I didn't think you were being harsh on HSBC because of radio silence on social media. However, I did want to point out that, even if they do respond on social media, many nonbanks are not trustworthy. But, all this pales into insignificance against the "bigger news". Hats off for bringing about the changes in the way HSBC deals with its customers.

As for whether these changes are easy to make or not, I'm not so sure. I remember the newly inducted President of PayPal - a much smaller and younger company that's supposed to have a totally different mindset compared to a big bank - saying that it'd take him a year or two to reorient PayPal to become more sensitive to its customers.

Brett King

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