Money & Banking

Banking on Onam sadya to connect with customers

Vinay Kamath Chennai | Updated on September 14, 2014


Federal Bank serves the traditional feast at its customer meet

It was a Federal Bank customer meet in Chennai. Only, there were no grievances to pour out, no talk on interest rates and overdrafts. High networth and corporate clients of the bank didn’t sit across the manager’s desk to discuss their proposals.

Elaborate flower arrangements greeted visitors while religious hymns in Malayalam played in the background. And, Federal Bank’s customers sat down for a sumptuous traditional Onam sadya served on a banana leaf and ate through 26 different items, ending with two varieties of rich, soporific payasams. If one had to feel good about their bank, this was the moment.

The Kerala-based bank last weekend used the traditional Onam or harvest festival to engage with its key customers in all the major metros on a whole new level by inviting them for a feast. In Chennai, the bank hired the premises of a prominent wedding hall and invited a little over a 100 customers for this thanksgiving meal. As a senior manager pointed out, this is a way to engage with customers and build a relationship and for a Kerala-headquartered bank, where Onam is a huge festival, it’s a matter of sentiment as well to offer a traditional feast. Says Shyam Srinivasan, Managing Director, , “We look for occasions and opportunities to engage with clients. We felt the secular nature of the Onam festival is one more great reason to meet informally and break bread together with customers who make us what we are.”

This is the second year when the bank has done it in a planned manner and intends to continue serving it up in succeeding years in key non-Kerala metros.

Adds Srinivasan, “This also serves as an opportunity to remind the employees of our roots. We now have over 40 per cent of people who are young and new to the bank and many are not from the State where we were born. This is one event to help remind us of where we began and how we can be national, contemporary and yet grounded!”

One guest, the CFO of a large corporate, enjoying the payasam, says he’s been to many dos and get-togethers organised by banks for key clients, but a traditional feast as this one is unique; one doesn’t turn down an invitation for a feast associated with a festival, he points out, all well Fed.

Published on September 14, 2014

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