Thursday, April 12, 2012


Its not real. Its just a crazy demonstration. There are no rights, limited duties and most importantly, the answer must always to be the question "Ask not what your large corporations can do for you? Ask what you can get the country to do for the large corporations?".

Facing the Voters in 2012
Patrick Chappatte - International Herald Tribune
A whole bunch of fools, the crazy part of the democrazy, are going to vote, thinking they can make a difference. All the best.

Monday, April 09, 2012

ICICI Security Services (Formerly called ICICI Bank)

Below is my favourite ICICI Screen. I see this screen most times i try to logon to ICICI Bank account. It is difficult to determine the exact cause of this phenomenon. Recently i have noticed that its appearance and chances have increased manifold.

Not willing to take anything for granted, i call the friendly neigbhourhood customer service specialist, of course the one who is responsible for ICICI. I have noticed a few things, about them, from this call and from my experience in the past.
  • They are not friendly. Even common courtesy of hello, good morning, and or evening is stated so fast, one wonders if they even mean a word of it.
  • Rarely in the neighbourhood. They are usually located in Gurgoan or some other far surburb of a large metro, usually very fluent in Hindi, with decent grasp of the english sentences they are trained to utter. 
  • Customer Service according to them, starts with a 'No'. And if possible will take 24 to 48 hours to activate. 
  • The only thing they are a specialist of is saying "It is for your own security". Or may be, if pushed "Please provide me your details, so i can authenticate your profile".
I have never seen a bank who is more bothered about my security, than their own. What is the use of a user-id and a password, if you have to provide additional authentication every-time you log on to their system.

The customer service specialist who appears on the phone, after repeated authentication of yourself, starting with the 16 digit debit card number and the 4 digit pin provided only to you, in a special secure envelope and cover. This is sent you separately from the plastic card to ensure zero abuse.
You would think that, after having spent a lifetime entering so many digits on the phone, that when someone says hello they know who you are and some relevant details. Thats not always the case, and most times you may have to begin again by providing more information, your name, address - full postal address, right down to the last digit of the pin code, registered mobile number and email id.
In the past, i have been advised after a long call wait, and entry of all relevant information. Sir you have reached the local banking line, the NRI special line, can provide you more detailed information regarding your NRI account. My pleas of "no i dont want special information", and only "wanting normal information", would fall on deaf ears. At this point they would simply repeat what they told me before.

Invariably everything i have always wanted done, was very secure and cannot be accomplished, because in some way it would compromise my security. I am wondering if ICICI should start operating our RAW and IB. They could help, considering all the years of expertise built on defending their bank from their own customers.

I am used to the good old days of being greeted by an account manager, clerk, teller, etc. So a small mistake in your signature, bad handwriting and even lack of funds were not a problem that couldnt be overcome. Like the video, from an advertisement that runs on Indian TV channels, sometimes "peeche account number likho", can work wonders.
I am also familiar and happy with the internet banking. I have used citibank, chase and bank of america in the US. The service over the internet is based on a paranoid design. They do allow the user to change email ids and passwords without a slew of harassing questions. Its also possible to make a mistake and recover, without having to endure the same.