Cobrapost |
May 8, 2013

HDFC Bank, Case 2: A. Kumar, Branch Head; S. Bhowmick, Personal Banker,East Delhi

All situations are treated with special care due to a high net worth individual. An ideal bank for those with hard cash.

The Cobrapost reporter walks into the cabin of Branch Manager A. Kumar and details his investment plans: A politician wants Rs. 80 lakh in three names over a long term. The amount is in cash.

Kumar proposes a scheme called ‘Invest Shield’, a product of HDFC Standard Life under which the amount will be doubled on maturity and all of it will be tax free. He also calls in his deputy, S. Bhowmick, to assist him.

We put in an innocent question. Will we get the returns in white, by cheque?
Kumar says: “Haan, poora (Yes, entirely).”

Would you invest the cash directly, or would you route it through an account?
“Account khol lenge (We will open an account),” states Kumar.
Kumar reconfirms the state of the funding. “Aap ko cash se karna hai (You want to do it in cash)?”
Yes, it would be in cash, we say.
At this Kumar says: “Direct kar lenge (We will do it directly).”
Among the documents needed, the banker asks us for our PAN card.
Raising a red flag, we say this investment would then get linked to other accounts in other banks.
Kumar clarifies: “Nahin, usse koi nuksan nahin hoga … woh toh hum investment aap kar rahe ho na (No, it will not make any difference … then you are making an investment).”
Has Kumar any experience of investing in cash before?
“Last year hi kareeb pachis–tees lakh ka kiya tha us tarah se(Last year, we did it for Rs. 25–30 lakh in that manner),” Kumar reveals.
Returning to the topic of investment using the PAN card, Kumar says: “Aapko return jab ayega … return jab aapka wapas aata hai … tab to white mein aayega … toh us samay bhi toh aapko …. jab aapke account mein rahega toh us samay bhi question ho sakta hai ki aapne kahan se kiya … woh safety ke liye PAN card chahiye … aur kahin disclose nahi …. (When your returns come, it will come in white … at that time also, when the money will be in your account, they may ask you the question from where did get all this money … for that safety, PAN card is needed and it will not be disclosed anywhere).”

It becomes clear that even with PAN card we could convert our black money easily with the help of this bank, and our investment would never be disclosed.

Satisfied thus, we come to the next item on our wish-list.

Could the banker provide us a locker big enough to keep around Rs. 5–7 crore in cash we are expecting soon.

Kumar is happy to help. “Haan mil jayega … bada locker available hai(You will get it … big locker is available).” He would give us even two lockers: “Locker aap chahoge toh do aap le lo (If you want … take two lockers).”

Counting the cash would not be a problem, either, with Kumar as he ready to provide us a counting machine before we park all our big cash in his bank lockers.

Bhowmick chips in to ask: “Aapko kya rakhna hai … matlab cash rakhna hai … kya rakhna hai?(What do you want to keep? I mean, you want to keep cash … what do you want to keep)?”

The reporter tells him that he wants to keep cash in them, Rs. 500 denomination notes.

Bhowmick comes up with a bright idea immediately: “Usko hazar mein convert kar lijiye(Get the cash converted it into [bills of] 1000).”
Great idea!
We come to the issue of transferring black money out of the country.
The politician’s wife often goes to England and wants to send there some of the Rs. 5-7 crore to be kept in your lockers.
Replies Kumar: “Remittance ke through bhej sakte hain … wo ho jayega(You can send it through remittance … that can be done).”

Bhowmick, the personal banker, sitting next to our reporter starts describing how the bank treats its ‘high profile‘customers. He assures the reporter that the details of the investments are never shared or disclosed. “Jo bhi humare special segment customer hote hain na Sir… unhe hum kya karte hain … unhe hum special category mein hi daal dete hain … us case mein hum log relationship manager provide karte hain … is branch mein jitne bhi privileged customers hain … unka portfolio main handle karta hoon … mujhe chor kar kisi ko information pata hi nahi hoti unka kya hai nahi hai(Whoever is our special segment customer, what we do is … we put them in a special category … in that case we provide a relationship manager … I handle the portfolio of all privilege customers in this branch … apart from me, nobody has access to information about what they have and what they don’t).”
The meeting ends with word to take the deal forward in the presence of the ministers.

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