ICICI Bank – Bureaucratic Hassles
UPDATE: September 15, 2016
I received the following e-mail from the ICICI Bank on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
Dear Mr. Raman,
We regret the inconvenience caused.
This is with reference to the e-mail addressed to Mr. Ashish Modi with the regards to receipt of FATCA/CRS Declaration letter dated August 16, 2016 on September 9, 2016.
At the outset please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused to you.
We wish to inform you that your FATCA/CRS confirmation has been processed successfully through Service Reference SR428648217 dated August 25, 2016.
We understand that due to delay in receipt of the letter, you have had to undergo some discomfort. Please accept our apology for this distressing experience.
We request you to ignore the letter which you have received, as the FATCA/CRS Declaration has been updated successfully in our records.
We look forward to more opportunity to be of service to you.
C J Rajesh
Customer Service Manager
ICICI Bank Limited
I thank ICICI Bank for its response.
Mr. Ashish Modi
Joint General Manager
ICICI Bank, Mumbai
September 10, 2016
Subject: Bureaucratic Hassles
Dear Mr. Modi,
Please let me introduce myself as a government award-winning journalist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with India’s leading media companies, I had been writing an edit-page column for The Financial Express newspaper. Nowadays, I am running my own global news services on different subjects.
Among other top assignments, I had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.
Last year, after over 20 years of my job, I decided to give back to the society by forming RMN Foundation, an NGO, under which I set up a school in New Delhi to provide free modern education to poor, underprivileged children. I also create various research reports to improve the quality of education in India.
After forming the NGO, I opened a bank account for RMN Foundation with ICICI Bank (Account Number: 025005004368), and started running the free school for poor children with the money that I had saved from my salary. Later, my friend Sanjay Gupta – who is also a Trustee in RMN Foundation – started contributing some small money from the salary that he is getting from his job.
In brief, I am running the school alone without any financial or other support from any other source. The total amount in the RMN Foundation bank account has always been around Rs. 50,000 – the current amount is only Rs. 43,000. I am using this money to pay the rent for the school rooms, to provide educational literature to children, and for other routine expenses.
While I am already facing myriad problems in running the school because of the limited financial resources with me, your bank has suddenly decided to make things worse for me.
This has reference to your letter dated August 16, 2016 with the subject “FATCA/CRS Declaration for your ICICI Bank Account/s” that was delivered to me on September 9, 2016.
I had almost collapsed after reading your letter’s complex subject line because I do not understand the jargon “FATCA/CRS Declaration” that you have mentioned. You have very conveniently advised me to consult my Tax Advisor. But how would I pay for the tax advisor’s services when I am already working with shoestring budgets?
I also failed to understand ICICI Bank’s sudden interest in a small account holder like me who is trying to provide philanthropic services with his own money. Surprisingly, your letter also does not state the reason for asking me to submit the documents and how they are applicable to RMN Foundation.
If this is a general communication to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then your bank is doing a disservice to its customers. You are unnecessarily disturbing customers like me or my Foundation, which does not possess resources to understand your bureaucratic rigmarole and satisfy your random demands.
Moreover, you have used an extremely callous language in your letter threatening me that you will close my Foundation’s bank account if I failed to submit the said documents. Your indifference toward your customers is further demonstrated when you did not give me any opportunity to get back to you on your e-mail because you have not mentioned any e-mail address in your letter (copy of your letter is attached here for your ready reference).
While this is a clear violation of digital human rights that are supposed to allow a human being to present their case digitally, the ICICI Bank has also served a severe blow to the “Digital India” objectives that the Government of India wants to achieve.
You must understand the realities of the modern digitally connected world and also simplify all your procedures in order to minimize the headache for your customers. If the government’s diktats are forcing you to harass the customers with an overdose of complex procedures, it is again your responsibility as a banker to educate the government officials who lack domain knowledge. You are not supposed to blindly accept the government orders that are aimed to disturb the customers – as you are doing in the present case.
With these facts, I request you not to disturb me with any such letter or demand in future, as I will not be able to fulfill that. I want to simply provide my charity services to the deserving people through RMN Foundation and want a very simple relationship with your bank – just to deposit and withdraw the money.
Thus, I request you to withdraw your letter stated above and inform me accordingly. Depending on your response, I will chalk out my future course of action in this case.
Would appreciate an early response.
463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16
Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I
New Delhi 110 078, INDIA