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Netizens bombard impersonal banking service

Updated: 2013-10-16 21:27
( Xinhua)

BEIJING -- Xu Wanfa, 75, a patient in Xi'an, hospitalized for cancer and other illnesses, was rushed to a bank in an ambulance and carried in on a stretcher to the counter to change his PIN.

The inflexible approach of a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's largest commercial bank, was on Wednesday bombarded by Chinese netizens after the case was exposed by Chinese media.

Xu's bank card was locked by the bank when his wife, Li, entered the wrong PIN three times.

Standard procedure requires the card owner to go to a branch of the bank to have a face-to-face PIN change, which was exactly what the bank did for Xu, who suffers from leukemia and who cannot even walk unaided, according to Li.

The provincial subsidiary of ICBC on Tuesday apologized to Xu and his family for the inconvenience, saying that the bank should take special measures in special cases to solve customers' problems.

The case has stirred up a long running debate on the Internet. On Sina's weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like microblogging service, more than 35,000 postings focused on the topic.

Most weibo users criticized the bank for being impersonal, arguing that the rigid obeyance of rules is not enough to meet the diverse needs of customers.

"Although this is an extreme case, it reflects the current bureaucratic practices of monopolistic companies," said weibo user "Bicaozhilan".

Maximize profits, some companies lack basic awareness of customer services. "Rules may be inhumane, but people should not be," Bicaozhilan said.

Rules should serve the people. In special cases, companies should provide more considerate services, instead of following fixed rules strictly, said "c Yishuifengxiao."

The top banking regulator sent out a circular on improving card services and management in March 2009, requiring commercial banks to provide visiting services to customers with special needs. For card owners who cannot make transactions in person for whatever reason, banks should open green passages for them and provide visiting services if necessary.

There are also a substantial number of microbloggers standing up for the bank.

Microblogger "Xing Zhibin" posted that the bank he works for is stressing how to ensure the safety of customers' money in every weekly meeting.

"If everyone asks for personal service, who will give banks personalized treatment when customers' money is lost?" Xing said.

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