South Korean banks have embarked on a mission to motivate customers to stay slim and trim.

Hana Bank, the banking arm of Hana Financial Group sells an instalment savings product called “S-Line,” a Korean word that means an hourglass figure.

The more calories a customer burns, the higher interest rate the bank gives. If a customer loses more than five percent of their weight within a year, or holds a gym membership, the bank grants special rates.

Another Bank- the Kookmin Bank- has made available an ingenious smart-phone product. If a customer forgoes a cup of coffee, he clicks on an icon of coffee on his smartphone and directly deposits money into his account. Likewise if he decides to walk instead of taking a cab, he clicks on the cab icon.

If a customer loses more than five percent of their weight within a year, or holds a gym membership, the bank grants special (interest) rates.

I was amused to read these innovative schemes to motivate bank customers to lose weight. How would the bank decide whether a person is overweight or not? Every person’s idea of the right weight may well be different.

Some say that the Body mass index should be used to determine a person’s optimal weight.

Others think that other methods such as  skinfold thickness measurements, underwater weighing, or bioelectrical impedance should be used.

It also seems unfair to give different customers different rates based on their weight. What right has a bank to judge people and discriminate?

I wonder if these type of schemes would find acceptance here in India? In these days of free choice it seems very archaic for any ‘authority’ to interfere in the personal matters of anyone.

It is certainly desirable for overweight people to lose weight. But I feel it really should be their personal choice.

Creating awareness about this issue through articles or workshops is one thing. but discrimination on the basis of weight is quite another.

What do you think?