Skip to main content

1.86 lakh sign petition: Bank account portability an "effective antidote" to Indian banks' restrictive practices

By Our Representative
A whopping 1.85 lakh plus people have signed a petition floated by well-known columnist-activist Sucheta Dalal of the Moneylife Foundation asking Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel to intervene in what it calls “unfair treatment that bank customers suffer in the form of frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges.”
Calling it a “consensus view of a group of knowledgeable consumer activists, policy watchers, bankers, and trade unions”, the petition seeks “urgent policy changes to ensure that banks treat bank customers fairly”, contending, banks are refusing to “automatically pass on contractual benefits such as lower interest to those with floating rate home loans” to the consumers.
Those who have floated the petition include Dhirendra Kumar of the Foundation Value Research; Abhay Datar of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat; Sunil Bhandare of the All India Bank Depositors Association; CH Venktatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association; Dolphy D’souza, convener, Police Reforms Watch; and Gautam Mody, General Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative.
Accusing the banks of “customer-unfriendly practices”, the petition regrets, the RBI has “remained silent on several anti-depositor actions of banks”, adding, “The Banking Ombudsman's rulings also tend to side with banks, making no attempt to observe the pattern of complaints which would amply bring out rampant mis-selling of insurance and wealth management products.”
The petition underlines, following “increased use of digital payments” post- demonetization, “it is necessary to have in place a mechanism or system to protect customers from unauthorized banking transactions”, adding, “A master circular/notification by RBI on limiting liability in an unauthorized banking transaction will make a huge impact on protecting customers from frauds.”
Wanting “effective portability of bank accounts” as a “good anti-dote to several restrictive practices followed by the banks”, the petition says, “This has been successfully implemented in the telecom sector and helped consumers.”
It regrets, “No practical portability option exists at present due to standing instructions for both incomes (pensions, annuities, dividends, interests) and expenses (utilities etc.) and the difficulties associated with changing those standing instructions.” It adds, “Portability of loan exists on paper, but has to be made easier and seamless to execute without imposing fiscal and non-fiscal burden on the consumer.”
Referring to the the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana which provides interest subsidy to loan, the petition says, lenders are being allowed to “overcharge for such loans” nullifying the advantages of the “subsidy provided from taxpayers’ funds.”
Insisting that “banks cannot have one-sided terms and conditions in their agreements with consumers”, the petition says, “One-sided loan agreements with details buried in the fine print are bleeding customers. RBI, in its communication, must be specific about barring the levy of unfair charges otherwise bankers take undue advantage and fleece consumers.” The petition seeks a “basic model agreement must be prescribed by the RBI to limit banks from harming customers.”
Wanting that “frequent increase in charges” should be immediately stopped, the petition gives the example of HDFC Bank which has “started levying charges for an invite only programme, which unethically assumes that the customer is already in and willing to pay for it”, adding, “The levy is stopped only when the consumer notices it and calls the bank to protest.”
Pointing out that the RBI issued a Charter of Customer Rights on December 3, 2014 recognising “basic rights” of bank customers, asking banks to adapt and implement them, the petition calls the charter a “toothless statement, saying, “Three years later, the RBI has not fixed timeframes for grievance redressal nor announced penalties for failure to treat consumers fairly, despite repeated appeals by consumer groups.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive.