Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Friday, asked banks to review staffing at branches so that employees speak to customers in the local language.

If there is a problem in mixing and matching, she said banks can have staff speaking local language in customer-facing roles and others in non-customer facing roles.

“I underline the importance of this because of the diversity of our country,” said Sitharaman in her address at the 75 th annual general meeting of the Indian Banks’ Association. She emphasised that inclusivity needs to be brought in into recruitments.

“...When you have at the branch level staff who do not talk in the regional language and who are patriotic enough to say “hey you don’t talk Hindi, maybe you are no Indian” and I am quoting this because it has actually happened. I think, this doesn’t do any good for business.

“We cannot afford to have staff who don’t speak local language and who demand from citizens that they speak in a particular language….you are there for doing business. You are not there to cultivate certain value system into the citizens,” she said.

The minister emphasised that Banks’ will have to have lot more ways of sensible recruiting.

If a bank needs ‘x’ number of people in a particular region, it has to make sure it recruits ‘x’ plus some more so that branches in the region have adequate number of people who can speak local language.

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