Many customers look for premium banking services and attention from their banks. Prime Bank is one of the few banks in the country that can meet the growing needs of clients through its priority banking services -- Monarch.
Monarch is the complete harmony of banking benefits and unique investment and lifestyle products, according to the bank.
“We treat our customers as monarchs. So, the services have been designed to meet the five-star luxury standards of the clients,” said Sharmin Ahmed, head of premium banking at Prime Bank.
The private commercial bank rolled out its premium banking service in October 2014. Ever since, it has continued to include more and more benefits in its premium banking service for its high-net-worth clients.
The service is designed to manage clients' wealth and enrich their life with exceptional privileges, with a complete range of financial services.
“Ultimately, service is the key. Clients want a service that is convenient, involves less time and comes with additional benefits. We want to ensure that the customers enjoy these incomparable privileges,” she said.
Due to the ever-increasing demands of clients, banks are coming up with products, services and ideas for customers that seemed absurd to lenders even seven to eight years ago, she added.
The Monarch clients enjoy exclusive dual currency debit cards with higher withdrawal limits, free standardised cheque books, free internet, SMS and mobile banking, discounted rates on retail loans, fees waiver on various products and services, 50 percent discount on safe deposit locker facilities, and pre-approved platinum credit cards.
Clients are also treated to exclusive lounges, dedicated relationship managers, family benefits, meet-and-greet privileges at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and flight reservation assistance for domestic and international travel.
It also offers banking to a client's doorsteps; a number of transactions are carried out at their own homes. The relationship managers visit clients' residences to deliver cheque books or debit and credit cards.
“There are senior citizens who don't want to visit a bank branch amid traffic congestion or other adversities. We provide the service at their homes.”
The relationship managers are assigned to manage the clients' interests and take care of their complete financial ties with the bank.
The clients also get discounts at 100 leading local and international stores, home décor outlets, food and beverage outlets, special rates on room booking at selected hotels, discounts at salons and spas and health clubs, invitation to glamorous premier shows and events, exclusive health packages at reputed international hospitals, and travel benefits. The places where clients would enjoy significant discounts include Gitanjali Jewellers, New Jarwa House, Al-Hassan Diamond Gallery, Westin Dhaka, Grand Sultan Tea Resort and Golf, Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort, Hotel Agrabad, United Hospital, Apollo Hospitals, Square Hospital and Ibn Sina Hospital in Dhaka.
The bank has agreements with Bangkok Hospital and Singapore's Raffles Hospital where Monarch clients are entitled to discounted services.
In case of travel booking, clients will get discounts on air tickets, special visa assistance, customised tour packages, and booking services for both domestic and international flights.
Clients' family members are also entitled to complimentary premium banking membership, premium banking lounges currently in Banani, Tejgaon and Baridhara, and reduced price for banking services.
Clients with an account opening balance of Tk 20 lakh or above, fixed deposit opening balance of Tk 30 lakh or above, persons having salary accounts worth Tk 3 lakh or above per month and home loans of Tk 70 lakh and above will be eligible to be priority customers.
Clients with longstanding relationship with the bank are also categorised as Monarchs, said Ahmed. Besides, people holding key positions at corporate bodies are also offered the service.
Existing middle income clients can apply for the status when they graduate to the higher middle or higher income category. Sometimes, clients with higher income automatically get the recognition from the bank.
The bank has five dedicated priority banking centres in Dhaka -- at Gulshan, Banani, Uttara, Mohammadpur and Tejgaon. It has 20 relationship managers for those clients as well.
The priority banking landscape in Bangladesh is expanding fast. According to a 2013 survey by Prime Bank, there were 1 lakh high-net-worth clients in Bangladesh at that time. About 7 percent of the population belong to the middle income category and by 2017, it would be 17 percent.
Since 2013, the number of such premium customers has definitely gone up as people's per capita income rose.
Ahmed said she has learnt three things in her 14-year career in the banking sector. “Service is the key while gimmicks are temporary; it is the little things that matter the most; and you don't gain a new customer -- you gain a new relationship.”
“It is the service that makes us stand out, as all of the banks are offering more or less similar products,” she said.
Prime Bank plans to open two exclusive lounges in Chittagong and one in Sylhet.