INTRODUCTION I which led to the hypotheses outlined about

                       INTRODUCTION In modern competitive environments,services are gaining gradually more importance in the competitive formula ofboth firms and countries. Globalised competition has hassled the strategicimportance of satisfaction, quality and consequently loyalty, in the combat forwinning consumer preferences and maintaining sustainable competitiveadvantages. Since the customers have more number of choices and control, longlasting and strong relationships with them are vital to achieve and maintaincompetitive advantages. In today’s business environment, the commercial banksface growing competition from new players, including global banks andalternative sources of funds. Moreover, the increasing competitive environment existingin the global market and fast advances in customer intelligence, technologieshave led retail banks to look for new business and marketing models forrealizing intelligence-driven customer transactions and experiences.

 In this context, thepresent study was conducted in Coimbatore district with the sample size of 500 customersfrom 25 branches of 8 commercial banks. The research sparked off by researchobjectives in Chapter I which led to the hypotheses outlined about theperception of customers towards retail banking of the commercial banks. Themethodology followed and the reviews of previous studies are presented inChapter I and brief descriptions of the retail banking services rendered by theselect commercial banks are discussed in Chapter II.

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Customers’ perception andopinion towards retail banking services are discussed in Chapter III. Levels ofcustomers’ awareness in retail banking services are discussed in Chapter IV.Levels of customers’ satisfaction in retail banking services are discussed inChapter V. In this chapter, the main findings of the study are summarized, theproblems encountered are mentioned, recommendations are made and scope for thefuture studies is outlined.MAJOR FINDINGS OF THESTUDYThemajor findings observed from the study have been summarized below:       1.     It is found from the analysis that malecustomers outnumbered the female customers in all the three types of bankstaken for the study.

The proportion of male customers in private sector banks(73.5 percent) was higher than that of nationalized banks (68.2 percent).

Itreveals that private sector banks have attracted more male customers than thenationalized banks while female customers have been impressed more bynationalized banks.  2.     Most of the respondents are in the agegroup of 21 to 30 years and they have entered into the job after theireducation and it is observed that the age is not a bar for having a savings orcurrent account in both banks.

 3.     The major proportion of customers ofbanks in Coimbatore district are unmarried because they belong to the age groupof 21 to 30 years and it is evinced that there is significant relationshipbetween marital status of the respondents and type of account.  4.     Majority of the respondents are havingeducation background (Graduate or Post graduate). But it is noted that there isno significant relationship between educational qualification of therespondents and type of account.

 5.      Itis observed that the higher proportion of customers of nationalized banks (40.8percent) was employed and in case of private sector banks the higher proportionof customers (46.2 percent) were engaged in business / profession. This infersthat there is a relationship between occupation of the respondents and type ofaccount.

       6.     More number  of  the respondents  are  having monthly  income  of  up  to Rs. 10000 per month in nationalized bankswhereas in case of private sector banks majority of respondents having monthlyincome of Rs.

10001 to    Rs. 20000 andit is not influenced by the nature of account.7.     The higher proportion of customers inboth nationalized and private sector banks had 3 to 4 members in their family.It is understood that size of family of the respondents is not a matter foropening current account or savings account.  8.     Most of the respondents either male orfemale are having savings account.

This infers that there is no significantrelationship between gender of the respondents and type of account.  9.     From the analysis it is found thatmaximum numbers of respondents were customers of these banks for less than 5years and it is concluded that there is a connection between period ofcustomership and ownership pattern of bank.  10.  Mostof the respondents may know the banks out of their self knowledge.

But there isno significant relationship between source of awareness and ownership patternof bank.  11. It is identified that there is asignificant relationship between selection of bank and ownership pattern ofbank because majority of respondents select the bank which is proximity to home. 12. It is observed from the analysis, thatmore number of the respondents has their saving accounts in nationalized banksbut they have not availed cheque book facility and it is also concluded thatthere is a significant relationship between utilization of cheque facility andownership pattern of bank.  13.

 Most of the respondents are having theiraccounts in nationalized banks and they have not make use of the chequefacility and large numbers of the respondents of private sector banks have gotthe cheque book on the same day itself. It reveals that there is a significantrelationship between time taken for getting cheque book and ownership patternof bank. 14. It denotes that respondents of bothnationalized and private banks have not availed loan facility. It is found fromthe analysis that maximum number of the respondents have got educational loanand this is due to that most of the respondents have savings account. Most ofthe respondents did not have availed any loan and they did not face anyproblem, but out of those who have availed the loan, majority of therespondents deprived due to insufficient income. It is concluded that there isa significant relationship between nature of problem faced by customers ingetting loan sanctioned and ownership pattern of bank.

 15.  Inthe research study, when the respondents were asked to rank the level of their satisfactiontowards features of loan based on the amount of loan sanctioned, , rate ofinterest, security for the loan, period of loan, statutory norms, formality toavail loan, processing time and other features have been selected as thefeatures of loan. Most of the respondents reveal that the amount of loansanctioned has been the most influencing feature of loans for the samplerespondents with an average score of 3.83.

The features of loan like rate ofinterest, formality to avail loan, processing time, statutory norms and otherfeatures have been considered to be least influencing.  16. It is found from the analysis that outof 500 respondents, the majority of respondents (266) used banking services asand when needed. About 395 sample respondents out of 500 respondents statedthat they were aware of cash withdrawal facility in ATM and they have beenusing the same. About 374 respondents out of total sample respondents mentionedthat they were aware and use balance enquiry and more than a half (282respondents) aware and use the mini statement.

It denotes that frequency ofutilization of retail banking services has influenced the awareness on balanceenquiry facility, cash withdrawal and mini statement. It is also revealed fromthe analysis that a greater proportion of 280 out of 500 respondents were notaware of cheque deposit facility, 296 out of 500 respondents were not aware ofcash deposit facility, 319 among the total respondents were not aware of thefacilities of transfer of funds, 334 out of 500 respondents were not awareabout the cheque book request facility in ATM. 13 out of 500 respondents use chequestatus enquiry , 7 out of 500 respondents use stop payment request  and 6 out 500 respondents use bill paymentpresentment   respectively. It is thus concluded that thereis a significant relationship between frequency of operation and awareness onvarious retail banking facilities in ATM.

 17. From Garrett’s Ranking technique, it isclear that convenient bank location  -rank I, safety locker facility – rank II and safety measures have been the mostvital facilities which have been liked by the bank customers while others havebeen given least importance by the bank customers. 18. According to Garrett’s RankingTechnique, it is concluded that bank customers have give least importance tothe e-banking facilities like electronic clearing service (42.

80 percent) andusage of computers and other modern technology (43.65 percent). While facilitieslike ATM facility (61.81percent) and credit card/debit card facility (51.35percent) have attracted the customers more than other facilities.  19. Perceptions of respondents towardsemployees’ behavior on banking services are good in private sector banks whencompared to nationalized banks. But it is moderate in nationalized banks.

 20. On the basis of ANOVA it is clearlyobserved that there is a significant relationship between frequency ofoperations and opinion of customers towards service charges while factors likeownership pattern of bank, period of customership and type of account arecorrelated with the service charges.  21.From the analysis it is noted thatfactors like gender and size of family have no significant relationship withtheir level of awareness on retail banking services. Whileother demographic factors such as age, occupation, monthly income, educational qualification,marital status, ownership pattern, period of customership and frequency ofoperation have significant association with their level of awareness on retailbanking services.

 22. It is clearly observed from the analysisthat there is a significant relationship between ownership pattern of bank andage of respondents, monthly income of the respondents and their level ofsatisfaction towards retail banking services, while demographic factors like maritalstatus, gender of respondents, occupation, educational qualification, size offamily and period of customers are not significantly related with the level ofsatisfaction towards retail banking services.  SUGGESTIONS 1.

     The public sector banks don’t issuecheque book on the day of opening the account as contrary to private sectorbanks. Therefore, it is suggested that the public sector banks should takeinitiatives to issue cheque book on the day of opening the accounts.  2.     Banks should provide loans at the lowerinterest rate. The education loans should be given with ease with minimumdocumentation. The practices followed in issuing education loan should matchthe policy practices declared by the government.  3.

     It is found that customers are satisfiedwith the loan amount and not with features of loan. Thus, it requires that thebanks should relax features of loan to curb the cumbersome procedures.  4.  Customers generally complain that fullknowledge is not provided to them. Therefore, banks should appoint an executiveexclusively in every main branch, where utilization of more high – techservices is possible, to guide, explain and make aware of these services tocustomers who are already using he facilities and those who don’t. 5.     On the basis of findings it is suggestedthat the bank should concentrate to provide facilities like adequacy of space,uninterrupted services rendered and indication of display boards to thecustomers. The bank employees should be provided with good education on counteroperations.

So that, they are able to provide quicker services without delay.  6.     The technology driven services withhi-tech facilities of electronic fund transfer and electronic mail servicesshould be effectively introduced to the customers. The customers need to beinformed about the type of forms used for each transaction and to makeenquiries and to redress their complaints. Training programmes should bedevised for all the staff in such a way that the staff and customersrelationship to be improved through communication skill to be imparted in suchtraining programmes.  7.     A specific and appropriate programme isto be formulated and introduced to educate the households, agriculturecustomers, illiterate customers and aged persons about how to use the retailbanking services.

 8.     From the study, it is understood thatthe banks have not given any importance for the space in the banks. The spacefor movement, writing, waiting queries is to be provided adequately andproperly.  9.      Itis suggested that customers should be educated through specific interactions,Audio and Video Programmes in local languages regarding the information abouthow various Retail Banking Services are rendered and used to spread awarenessand persuade the customers of the remote villages.  10. The banks need to improve their retailbanking business through ATM service by increasing their withdrawal limit, newATM locations and issuing debit cards promptly.

It is also suggested that Banksshould take the ATMs to rural areas so as to increase their services to thevillage people.   11. The customers should be encouraged bythe way of rewards, prizes, etc., for using more and more Retail BankingServices. 12.

 The banks that offer Retail BankingServices should design the advertising campaign by taking into account thecustomer opinion on Retail Banking Services as environmental friendly andfaithful to the other customers who are not aware of the Retail BankingServices.  13. The Banks should improve the quality ofthe Retail Banking Services that will attract the other customers of the bankstoo.  14. Banks should allow the existingfacilities to sink into the culture of the customers before any new facilitiesare launched. Also, the existing facilities should be embedded with services sothat customers not only appreciate new technology, but are also in a positionto operate.  15.The banks require hiring right kind ofpeople, with adequate knowledge of Retail banking services especially at bankscall centers.

The marketing personnel selected by directsales executives of banks should be fully qualified, in terms of education,retail product knowledge, communication skills etc., and they are well versedwith local language. 16. It is necessary for banks to motivatecustomers by satisfying them through well organized efforts, especially byproviding confidence that the working and products of retail banking are highlyuseful for the customers.  17. In order to have confidence of customers,the banks have to consciously cultivate the habit of treating their customer asking. This would include provision of more and more customized services thatare tailor-made to suit their individual needs.

 18. The more products that a customer haswith the bank, the cheaper it is to serve them per product, and it is moredifficult for the customer to switch to another bank. Therefore the bankersshould diversify their services to provide more products to the customers.  19. The banks by using modern high – techtelecommunications should introduce new ways for consumers to access theiraccount balances, transfer of funds, pay bills, and buy goods and serviceswithout using cash, mailing a check, or leaving home.

 20. In order to win the confidence andsupport of the customers, the banks should ensure the personal safety ofcustomers while utilizing the services provided by the bank. This includes themaintenance of confidentiality about the customer information and his/heraccount details etc.  21.  Thebanks must get customers’ feedback.

This is not only beneficial to thecustomers but also to the bank with valuable information for improvements andfuture development on retail service.  22.  Banksneed to develop their Retail services so that their service will not be out ofdate and thus avoid customer choose other banks’ services which are betterdeveloped and modern. Banks need to recognize the potential of new innovationand utilize them, besides implementing new innovations, it is important thatbanks also develop their services and to personalize even further in order tosatisfy their customers. The banks have to meet the needs of customers andcontinuously improve their ability to do so.

 23. In case of opening bank account oraccessing any banking transaction, bio-metric system may be introduced.  24. There may be chances for submittingduplicate Identity card and fake photos while opening bank account. In order toovercome these issues, photos and signatures may be taken at the time ofaccount opening in the bank itself as the system which is followed in Regionaltransport office and Election office.  25. In order to verify the authenticity ofphoto and Identity card banks may be permitted to access central server database.

 CONCLUSION Retail banking has been commenced in theIndian banking sector in recent years. Customers of Indian commercial banks arereacting to a greater extent to this new banking strategy. Nowadays, banks arein a fluctuating business environment as they experience an increase incompetition and in customer demand, and a decrease in profit margins. Hence, itis decisive for banking practitioners to spotlight on a differentiatedstrategy, known as service quality improvement, to strengthen their corecompetitive edge, and urgently make a decision to focus on either the area ofpersonnel counter services or electronic services or both, to be able toallocate limited resources to serve that decision. For banks to groworganically, a strong commitment to strategic customer growth options must bearticulated through a well-structured approach, designed to improve customerattitudes toward bank capabilities and assess their potential value. Therefore,banks must break with traditional, one-sided, inwardly focused customerinitiatives and drive toward a well-balanced, customer focused model to exploitthe potential of its most valuable customers.

Further, customer service hasbecome a significant integral factor of many businesses in order to staycompetitive. A major contribution of this study is the provision of an approachfor managers in retail banks thus enabling them to improve customersatisfaction and retention rates. Retail banking in India is also practicing a severecompetition as public sector banks, private sector banks and foreign banks aretrying to execute their best to increase their respective market shares.Therefore, success of leading banks in future will depend on productinnovation, latest technological developments and strategies to tap thepotential retail market.

Primarily, a vital factor of retail banking service isthe quality of customer service. The study will provoke the authority concernedto take some positive measures for improving the standard of retail banking.    SCOPE FOR FUTURERESEARCH In the present study,an attempt has been made to examine the awareness, perception and satisfactionof customers towards retail banking of commercial banks in Coimbatore district.Based on the experience, a few areas may be suggested for pursuing furtherresearch in future. Although this study covers all aspects of retail bankingservices, there may be certain aspects that might have been omitted or that maybecome relevant as new trends in banking evolve.

  An important future research direction is to studythe overall relationship quality and customer satisfaction in creating customerloyalty. Future research can be conducted, taking into account how the variousdimensions of service quality, in terms of definition as well as new servicesthat are offered by the banks.  Infuture, customers may reveal new aspects of service quality in retail bankingthat are important to them, and these would have to be incorporated in thescale so as to further explore the concept of service quality in the retailbanking arena.

Future investigations should focus on loyalty program, componentanalysis, customer loyalty measures, customer attraction and profitability, anddesign and costs of loyalty programs. A study may be conducted on the impact ofLiberalization, Privatization and Globalization on retail banking servicesrendered by banks. Studies similar to this, if conducted on a large scale atregular intervals by the researchers and financial intermediaries, will helpthe bankers to introduce varied banking services in the forthcoming days.