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Come bank the HSBC way

The unique Teller CountersThe entire banking experience has, over the years, undergone a sea change. Gone are the days of tiresome visits to overcrowded banks, waiting endlessly for one's turn, with token in hand and sweat on the brow, impatient to get the job done.

Banks today are bending over backwards to humour the customer. Service in the comforts of the home, statements at the press of a button, ATMs and even Phone and Net banking facilities. If this isn't the ultimate in pampering, one wonders what is! Well, for the residents of Pune at least, the spanking new premises of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank most definitely is. On the 23rd of May, Puneites were introduced to the ultimate in banking services.

Considered to be the biggest in Pune, spread over 11,000 square feet, it could well be mistaken for the foyer of an airport
terminal. The vastness of space is accentuated by the raised ceiling and clever interior designing. Architect Anil Salian, who specialises in corporate interiors, had been entrusted with the job.

A panoramic view of the Main Banking hallZarir J Cama, the bank's CEO, addressing the press at the branch opening, said that HSBC has a long-standing commitment to India and its presence in the country dated back to 1853. It is also, he went on to state, the second largest banking entity in the country, with a total bank capitalization of 170,000 crores, which makes the bank even bigger than ICICI and HDFC.

Explaining the rationale of the bank making a late entry into the city, he said that the bank had applied to the RBI for a licence to open the branch but it was only now that they received the sanction. The bank has 29 branches nationally and has applied to the RBI for permission to open branches in 4 more cities. Mr. Cama further added that the focus on Pune is not on the Corporate Sector but on Personal Banking and the Wealth Management segments. A couple of their corporate clients from Mumbai who have local offices in Pune have started banking with the Pune branch, however, this will be mainly in the Cash Management Services and not Credit Management which will continue to be dealt by Mumbai.”

A unique feature of the Pune branch is that it will remain open 365 days a year, 8 am to 8 pm. The bank also houses an art gallery spread over 500 square feet. The art gallery will promote local artists, an exercise that has been carried out successfully at the HSBC branch in Kolkatta.”

Another view of the Main Banking hallThe bank has a separate entrance for its ‘high-end’ customers that will lead them to a separate room where plush sofas, a television, computers with net access and two-service center cubicles welcome them. Special services are not restricted to just the high-end customers. A lot of care has been taken to see that customers are well serviced and this is evident as one looks around the excellent premises. The entrance is dotted with an ATM machine, there are separate cubicles with round pine tables for customer sales officers. The safe deposit lockers and part of the parking lot is in the basement. There is also a small cafe where the bank staff can relax over a cup of coffee.

Mr. Cama also informed the press that the bank had, for the past two years, transferred all its back end services to Hyderabad, where the bank has 700 people working. All the back end work of the bank's UK and US operations would be carried out in Hyderabad. There are also plans to open Call Centers in four to five Indian cities. at a total investment of Rs 58 million.

Zarir J Cama, the bank's CEO at PuneNot content with resting on its laurels in the banking sector, HSBC has opened an Insurance Services Company, which will sell the TATA-AIG range of products in the Life and Non-Life sectors to its customers. Asked why the bank was only selling the products of one company, Mr. Cama replied that the current law did not allow for a company to sell more then one company's product. However, once the Insurance Bill is passed, they would be able to sell other company products.

The Manager of the HSBC Pune Branch, Dheeraj Dikshit calls the HSBC branch near Residency Club, the bank's flagship branch. The bank has currently one of Pune’s biggest signage's or Translites, five and a half feet in height and 150 feet in length, lit up by 500 tube lights.

The Pune branch will offer the entire gamut of the banks services and products, like Credit Cards and loans.

Address: HSBC, Amar Avinash Corporate City, Opposite Council Hall, Bund Garden Road, Pune-411001.
Phone: 4012000

By Rahul Surkund
Photos-Courtesy- Perfect Relations
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