Privileged Banking and the entire gamut of premium banking services are a fairly new development in the Indian BFSI market. The trend began with foreign banks and private banks have been quick to jump on to the bandwagon. However, in a country where nationalized banks are the mainstay, how effective are premium bank accounts when it comes to making your life easy?
Let’s begin with what you need to become a privileged banking customer in the first place; it varies from bank to bank & every bank has their own eligibility criteria for elevating your banking status to privilege banking. These customers are typically chosen on the basis of their average balance maintained with the bank or the number of years they hold the banking relationship. In some cases, customers are automatically offered priority banking status but there are several instances when one has to apply for this too.
So how is this any different from wealth management services offered by banks? Wealth management is more about providing customers with customized services on all their financial needs, which includes investment advice and portfolio management. Priority banking on the other hand deals with providing the everyday banking services to priority customers at specialized rates and/or convenience level. Priority banking as a part of its services may include wealth management.
What exactly are these privileges of privilege banking? For starters, dedicated service areas in the branch eliminating the need to queue up for transactions. You’ll have relationship managers assigned to take care of your finances. Your relationship manager serves as your primary point of contact for all your banking needs. Some banks offer free ‘at-par’ cheque books and waiver of charges on a host of products like NEFT, RTGS, demand drafts, cheque returns, duplicate statements, stop payment of cheques etc. You’ll also be eligible for a variety of premium debit and credit cards free of cost, avail free cheque pick up facility, concessions in locker rent, access exclusive lounges & enjoy preferential pricing on a variety of products and services.
While in many cases priority banking is free and is based on the past history of the account, some banks charge for offering this service. Inquire if you have to pay to become a priority banking customer. As far as banking needs are concerned, each individual and household has different needs depending on their financial situation, background, how tech-savvy they are, etc. Ask yourself if you currently need heavy banking services for your personal and professional needs or if banking is just a small part of your financial life. Compare the benefits you receive vis-à-vis the cost borne by you to avail such services. If you’re not tech-savvy and need to visit the bank regularly or want an unlimited cheque book facility, which is not available to you as a normal customer of the bank, look at priority banking as an option to enhance your banking experience.