Skip to main content

India's private, MNC banks are "turning away" senior citizens, differently-abled from availing facilities

By Gajanan Khergamker*
Banking, particularly its services, fall within the ambit of India’s Consumer Protection Act. The customer of a bank is legally entitled to approach a Consumer Forum for the ‘deficiency in service’ which, if and when proved, could force the bank to cough up damages. 
A Delhi resident Radhey Shyam Sharma moved the New Delhi Redressal Forum for failing to resolve his issue relating to the issuance of an ‘illegal’ bill of his HDFC Bank credit card. Despite a defence put up by the bank attributing the error to the HDFC Bank employee who, it claimed, had acted without authorization, the forum upheld in 2014 the consumer claim, directing the HDFC Bank to pay Rs 40,000 to the consumer.
A couple of years later, in 2016, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said that the HDFC Bank has got "no love and respect for India", as it put the country’s reputation at stake by not activating the debit card of a couple "trapped in a foreign country" and directed the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the complainant couple who were stuck in Thailand and Singapore for “negligence, inaction and passivity on the part of the bank.”
Cut to today, in 2018, following a series of complaints across banks for failure to comply with a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies laid on October 4, 2017 and pertaining to banking facility for senior citizens and differently-abled persons and published on November 9, 2017, banks – particularly private and multinational – are being charged with discouraging and turning away senior citizens and differently-abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. 
Vinod Solanki
RBI has, through a publicly-available directive, directed all banks to put in place appropriate mechanisms such as dedicated counters providing preference to senior and differently-abled persons, ease of submitting life certificate, cheque-book facility, automatic conversion of status of accounts from fully KYC compliant to senior citizen accounts, additional facilities to visually impaired customers and ease of filing Form 15G/H. For these, instructions had been issued to banks to provide doorstep banking and ensure other facilities by December 31, 2017.
Notwithstanding the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is imperative to be sensitive to the requirements of senior citizens and differently-abled persons. Banks have been instructed to put in place explicit mechanisms for meeting the needs of such persons so that they do not feel marginalised. In furtherance to the same, Ombudsmen have also been advised to pay heed to complaints in this context.
Now, that said, there are a host of issues regarding senior citizens accounts and ensuing confusion. Where private or multinational banks are concerned, right from the executive up till the manager, the letter and the spirit of the RBI directive is lost.
“A customer’s account cannot be automatically converted into a Senior Citizen Account, once he turns senior, unless s/he makes a request for the same personally,” says Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Colaba (Mumbai) Branch Manager Rajesh Bhalerao. “As for door-step facility too, the customer will have to request for the same and will be provided conditionally to him,” he adds. 
This, despite the RBI directive according to which: Presently, in some banks, even fully KYC-complaint accounts are not automatically converted into ‘Senior Citizen Accounts’ on the basis of date of birth maintained on the bank records. Banks are advised that a fully-KYC complaint account should automatically be converted into a ‘Senior Citizen Account’ based on the date of birth available in bank’s records.
So, technically what happens is that when the account isn’t automatically converted into a Senior Citizen Account, the customer will automatically be deprived of the benefits of his seniority, despite clear directives by the RBI.
Attempts to ascertain the number of accounts automatically converted by the HDFC Bank from regular accounts to Senior Citizen Accounts and how many of its senior citizen customers, in Mumbai, were offered door-step banking facility failed as despite repeated reminders on phone and through email, HDFC Bank’s officials refused to respond.
At a time when one would imagine that cut-throat competition in banking services would enhance facilities across private and multinational banks, it’s surprisingly the nationalised bank that has been holding its ground and strongly too.
Dena Bank senior manager Sanjay Gondhalekar
“We have been banking with Dena Bank for years and are very happy with the services,” asserts businessman Mohanlal Solanki, whose views are endorsed by son Vinod Solanki who feels that private and multinational banks "loot by way of extra charges" that are invisible and mostly hidden from the customer.
“Forget senior citizens,” says Vinod Solanki, “Even when one of us is busy with work or simply unable to reach the bank, a bank official drops by to our business place and provides us door-step banking, without a charge too. And this when we don’t even qualify for a Senior Citizen Account.”
Most middle-level business account holders vouch for the service of nationalised banks. “Today, even if a cheque I have drawn is deposited into my bank at a time when there are less funds, the bank manager personally calls me up to inform me about the same and I rush to the bank to deposit the amount to ensure the cheque issued to the third party is cleared,” says Colaba resident Suresh Kanojia. “How many private banks will offer this sort of service? They earn mostly from such lapses and oversights by the customer who doesn’t even realise how he is charged,” he adds.
Nationalised Banks, on their part, provide the services as laid down by RBI through its guidelines and notifications. After all, it just takes an RTI application to obtain details from a nationalised bank that most private or multinational banks will dodge through their maze of ‘communications’, ‘forwards’ and ‘internal’ procedures till the customer is left with little option but to give up. It’s this very attitude of private sector banks that proves counterproductive for business.
Gajanan Khergamker
“We have been offering door-step banking facility not just for senior citizens, even for those who are unable to visit the bank for a personal reason, for over years, even before the RBI issued this notification last year,” says Dena Bank’s Senior Manager Sanjay Gondhalekar. “We offer personalised services to all our customers who have been banking with us for over generations. It’s trust and goodwill that we value more than sheer profit through business,” he adds.
While making loud assurances of ‘personalised’ banking through Dedicated Personal Bankers, it’s the well-orchestrated silence over hidden charges and internal changes to maximise profit for the bank and personal career achievements for the Banker that legally translates into ‘deficiencies in service’ that can be brought by customers before a consumer forum and concurrently ensure compensation and redress. Of the ways to ensure justice and obtain redress, this is the swiftest.
---
*Founding editor of "The Draft". A version of this article was originally published in www.thedraftworld.com

Comments

SAMIR SARDANA said…
What is the purpose of a Pvt Bank in India ?

It is to skim the profits from the PSU Banks ! dindooohindoo

So the strategem is as under:

1st the Netas bankrupt the PSU by stealing the money via loans to the ilk of Nirav Modi
Then the Netas do a capital infusion
Then the Netas do a Demo and GST to kill the capital infusion and the borrowers of the PSU Banks
Then they do a bank restructuring
Then they do a MUDRA of Rs 20,00,000 crores - which will not come back
AND THEN THEY SELL THE PSU BANK TO THE PRIVATE BANK FOR FREE !

In the above,before the infusion and the restructuring the pimps of the Neta in the NSE and BSE make money on the SENSEX for the Neta

What is the role of the PSU bank here ? The PSU bank has done free of cost marketing and set up the banking channel and the banking infra for FREE FOR THE MNC BANK AND THE PRIVATE BANK !

FOR THIS SERVICE THE NETA DESERVES A FEE ! SO THE PRIVATE BANK PAYS RS 3-500 CRORES FOR THE BANKING LICENSE AND THE BANK MERGER !

THEN COMES THE LOAN OF THE DEAD PSU BANK - WHICH THE PSU BANK BUYS AT A 80% DISCOUNT - AND WHICH HE WILL RECOVER 100%

AND ALL THIS IS HAPPENING UNDER THE NOSE OF THE RBI AND THE BANKING AND FINANCE SECRETARY !

ALL THE PRIVATE BANKS ARE OWNED AND RUN BY BANIAS AND THE BAD LOANS ARE ALL BANIAS !

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria