Now that BGR was in a position to offer excellent services at the new and spacious premises, he went on a business drive. He had already visited a number of prospective clients personally and his efforts started yielding fruits. Words started spreading that the branch was offering excellent services. While all other banks were issuing demand drafts (DDs) only on the next day, BGR’s branch was issuing the DDs within 15 minutes. What was more – the branch was issuing passbook and chequebooks for the newly opened accounts immediately. The clients were surprised at this level of service. The branch business grew fast with new clients flocking in.
By early 1983, the branch got the new telephone connection which strengthened the hands of BGR in extending better services and securing new accounts. As the branch was located in Transportnagar, the main business was obviously the truck finance. In those days, the trucks (both Tata and Ashok Leyland) used to cost around Rs2 lakh. The bank used to sanction a loan of Rs1.50 lakh – Rs1.20 lakh for chassis and Rs.30,000 for bodybuilding. The borrowers used to keep a term deposit of Rs50,000 that would serve as collateral security. The proposals were to be sent to the Divisional Office (DO) at Bhopal. Due to postal delays, the normal time for getting the sanctions used to be around three weeks.
The authorities at DO had made it a practice to sanction all the proposals without raising any unnecessary queries. Thus BGR could keep up the commitment of sanction of a new proposal within the deadline of three weeks. The number of proposals grew rapidly and BGR sanctioned nearly 120 truck loans during a period of three years. What was more – the repayments were regular with very few defaults. The deposit base of the branch also improved simultaneously.
The Hatho Hatho Me DD - Batho Batho Me Gaali (curse) Incident!
It was not as if BGR never had a bad client at the branch. He did have an occasion to face a tough guy (TG). Incidentally BGR had improved his Hindi speaking capacity by that time. This particular person had opened a new account at the branch and invested in a term deposit for Rs50,000. He then submitted his proposal for the truck loan. He appeared to be a man in a hurry. Two days later he appeared in the branch all of a sudden. The following was the dialogue:
TG: Where is my DD?
BGR: What DD you are talking about?
TG: I am talking about my Truck loan. I want my loan to be disbursed immediately.
BGR: We don’t have the practice of granting loans offhand. The processing and sanction takes time.
TG: How come? All other banks sanction loans on the spot and handover the DD immediately (Doosra sub banks hatho hatho mein DD they theythe hain). What is your problem?
BGR: Hum bhi hatho hatho mein DD they thethe hain. Magar loan DD aisa hotha nahin (We also hand over DDS on the spot. But not for truck loans that require sanction).
TG: Oh! My goodness! I will come back again. Keep the DD ready (leaves the branch in a huff)!
(Meanwhile BGR could collect confidential opinion that TG had overdues with many other banks. He decides to reject the proposal). Two days later he receives a telephone from the guy.
TG: I am coming to the bank now. Keep the DD ready!
BGR: You need not take the trouble. I am rejecting your loan proposal.
TG : How come?
BGR: I guess you sure know the reasons. If necessary you may enquire with your ‘hatho hatho mein’ banks!
TG: (Raises his voice) Let me see how to make you sanction my loan! Remember you have come from the South. If you want to survive here you will have to sanction my loan!
BGR: I am categorically rejecting your loan. Do you understand?
TG: What time you are coming out of the branch?
BGR: After completing the day’s work of course!
TG: Let me warn you! My goondas will be waiting for you outside! You may have to repent!
BGR: I may be from South. But I am not afraid of your goondas! I am prepared to meet you even at the dead of night! You tell me where I should meet you. Let the matter be decided today only! (TG hangs up the phone)
(The very next day BGR met the local Inspector of Police and narrated his experience with the tough guy. The Inspector collected the name and address of the person and assured BGR full security and told him not to worry. Three days later the Tough Guy arrives at the branch again. He walks into the cabin of BGR straightaway.
BGR: Now What?
TG: You are giving loans to all others. How can you reject my loan? I may have to lodge complaint against you!
BGR: My decision is final.
TG: What about my fixed deposit of Rs50,000?
BGR: You can withdraw it anytime!
TG: (Raises his voice). I am not leaving the cabin unless you give me my DD! How dare you reject my loan?
(At this stage another gentleman enters the cabin. He is actually the Police Inspector without his uniform. He had followed the tough guy and was observing the scenario silently from outside the cabin)
Inspector: Stop your nonsense and get out of the cabin!
TG: Who are you?
Inspector: I am the Inspector of Police at the Local Station.
TG: Sir. The Manager is not sanctioning my genuine loan!
Inspector: I know the whole story. In case you appear here again I may have to book a case against you for creating nuisance inside the Bank Manager’s cabin. Do you understand?
(TG coolly goes out. Two days later he comes to the branch and encashes the deposit and goes away without even looking at the cabin. That was the last time BGR saw him. Thereafter there was no such trouble with any other client/public).
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
25th September 2012