Priority Banking also known as Privilege Banking, is a new term in the context of banking in India.  There are many banks in India, especially private banks who have followed foreign banks in offering specialized services to a set of customers known as priority customers. These customers are determined according to the balance, they maintain in the bank, and the number of years of relationship with the bank. There are cases where a customer gets a priority banking status without applying for it. In some case, one has to apply for this.


So, is priority banking the same as wealth management services offered by banks?


The answer to this question is no.  Wealth management is a concept where a first-class customer gets customized services on all their financial requirements. These also include investment advice, and portfolio management. Priority banking is something where the same banking services are offered to priority customers at Specialized Rates, or offering a particular convenience level.  So we can say that wealth management is not priority banking, but priority banking can include wealth management as a part of its services. Let us look at the benefits that a priority banking customer can experience.


•  Free Cheque submission facility

•  Lower locker rent

•  Privilege of accessing exclusive lounges and other areas

•  Special pricing for different products and services

•  Relationship benefits across various branches in different locations

•  Special dedicated areas in the branch thus no need to queue up for transactions.

•  Customer relationship manager employed to take care of all banking requirements.

•  Credit cards and premium cards free of cost.


The benefits mentioned above may vary from bank to bank.  While the benefits that priority banking offers, are not that important, it is important to see that priority banking customer get more benefits than normal customers.


So, should one become a priority banking customer with a bank or not? It is important to consider two things i.e. your banking requirements, and if the priority banking status is offered free.  There are some banks where priority banking is free and based on the history of the account holder.  For example - Standard Chartered Bank offers priority banking, but demands a fee for it. Determine if you wish to pay to become a priority banking customer. If yes, then analyze your banking requirements.  The banking needs of each individual varies and depends on the financial situation, background, etc. You need to analyze that if you need heavy banking services for your personal and professional needs, or not.  There are people for whom baking stops with submitting and withdrawing cash, opening Fixed Deposits, operating the locker and may take demand drafts.  Now with the advent of mobile banking and internet banking, the need of Cheque books, demand drafts, and physical visits to bank branches is also greatly reduced for the common man. The person has the option to carry out most of the services on the net, by logging into the account. In such a scenario, applying for priority banking account by paying a fee does not make much sense.


Also, if you wish to avail some services repeatedly from your bank, then you can consider availing priority banking services.  For example, you may have the need to take demand drafts at regular intervals, that requires high demand draft charges. In such case, you can consider taking priority banking as an option to enhance your banking experience. However, make sure you compare the benefits you get from such services.