June 24, 2006


Smart or Stupid?

I received a letter, alongwith a card, from my bank informing that I have been upgraded to "GOLD PRIVILEGE". After the initial flattering pleasantries, they listed the services I am entitled to. The first one was "Waiver of charges for non-maintainence (sic) of Quartely Average Balance."

The savings account holder has to maintain Quarterly Average Balance (QAB) of Rs 5,000. If one fails to maintain that the banks levy anywhere from Rs 400 to Rs 750 as fine. Last year, a few private banks raked in more than Rs 100 Crores by charging customers with this fine. RBI had to intervene and talk to the banks about such exorbitant ransom.

I was wondering, if my QAB is below 5,000, then it means either I have stopped using that bank account or I am broke. In the first case, I would immediately close the account and in the second case, irrespective of the fine, signs of trouble are already looming large.

A bunch of usual things like great deal on loans, withdrawl limit increased to Rs 50,000 (which you can anyway avail by visiting a bank), "preferential rates for gold and foreign currency, etc. etc. were listed as premium services.

Then came the master stroke. In Aerial, font size 12, Bold. "To retain membership of this elite Gold Privilege circle, all you need to do is maintain a minimum quarterly average relationship of Rs 1,00,000 with us." See the clever use of word "Relationship" instead of "Balance" after "quarterly average." Basically, I need to maintain a QAB of Rs 100,000 so that I don't have to pay the penalty for not maintaining a QAB or Rs 5,000.

Should I be ROTFL at the stupidity or admire the folks for their creativity?

I really don't feel like cutting the card across diagonals, my usual practice for unwanted cards, but I'm not going to use it. Thanks, but no thanks!

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