Citibank deactivates accounts without proper notice, customers panic | Azad Times

1 month ago 56
Google News-EN Google News-KN Telegram Facebook

Azad Times News Desk.

Ahead of the acquisition of Citibank’s retail banking division by Axis Bank, Citibank’s customers were asked to move their accounts to Axis Bank.

Chaos ensued in the Citibank branch on MG Road in Bengaluru on Thursday, February 9, as customers thronged to reactivate their abruptly deactivated accounts. On Wednesday, at around 6 pm, account holders with Citibank received an SMS saying that their accounts have been “closed” and that their ATM cards and cheque books are no longer valid. When a reporter from TNM visited the MG Road branch of Citibank, they were not allowed inside citing the reason that they were not an account holder. One of the customers, Srinivasan, had gone inside the bank and refused to leave until the issue was resolved. He told TNM that the police were called in order to persuade him and other customers with similar grievances to leave and ‘cooperate’ with the bank authorities, but they did not budge.

In March 2022, Axis Bank announced the acquisition of Citibank’s retail banking division. After the announcement, Citibank’s customers were asked for consent to move their accounts to Axis Bank. One customer said that he had been receiving persistent calls from Citibank asking him to switch to Axis Bank. While several customers agreed to the switch, many of those who did not consent had their accounts, ATM cards and cheque books deactivated without any intimation on Wednesday, February 8. Customers also told TNM that they were not briefed on what would happen to the money in their accounts if they did not consent to switch to Axis Bank. However, as customers visited the bank and demanded that their accounts be reactivated, the bank did comply but only after taking a consent letter from customers to move to Axis Bank.

Speaking to TNM, Anil (name changed), a customer who had gone to the MG Road branch on Thursday to get his account reactivated said that he panicked when he received the bank’s message on Wednesday night. “I tried to get in touch with the customer care service yesterday but I was not connected to anyone. I tried till 12 am and then decided to come to the bank today,” he said. When he spoke to other people in the bank who had come to rectify the same issue, Anil said he learned that some of them had deposited all of their savings from the past 20 years or so in their Citibank accounts.

An advocate by profession, Anil argued that sending out emails and SMS alone was not the right way to get people’s consent while being asked to change their bank accounts. He said, “ The bank has not specifically explained what the switching of accounts to Axis Bank would entail. There is still time for the merger till the end of March this year. But even before that, they have deactivated our accounts.” Arguing that it is up to the customer to switch banks and banks cannot force them to do so, the advocate said that Citibank was coercing customers to move their accounts to Axis Bank.

Shahul Hameed, a techie from Chennai, also had a similar experience. However, he did not worry greatly since his primary bank account was not Citibank. Hameed said, “I have been receiving calls from someone at Citibank asking me to switch my account to Axis Bank. They said that all my old records of transactions will be deleted if I do not opt to switch. But I did not consent. The calls were persistent so I stopped picking them up. But I did not know they would simply close my account without any intimation.”

When asked what he plans to do about his deactivated account, Hameed said that he would wait it out since it was not his primary bank account. He said, “The deactivation would be a big problem for people who have given this account for auto debit of EMIs and things like that. So it did not hit me as much as it might have hit most account holders. But the issue is the way the message about the closing of the accounts was communicated. There was no reasoning behind this decision or communication about what would happen to the money in these accounts. It was very badly handled.” TNM tried to contact the branch manager of Citibank’s MG Road branch but he refused to comment on the situation or answer any questions.

Google News-EN Google News-KN Telegram Facebook
HTML smaller font

Azad Times.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a Syndicated Feed and has not been created or edited By Azad Times Staff.

This is the title of the web page
This is the title of the web page