Banking: Banking Ombudsman Receives 770 Complaints in NE Region

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Banking Ombudsman (BO)-Northeast received 770 complaints from customers during 2013-14 on the services of various banks. In 1996-97, when the Scheme was introduced in the Northeast region, only 37 complaints were registered. The BO’s office reached out to customers through awareness campaigns and meetings in the past five years. Assam led in the utilisation of the Scheme with 608 cases, followed by Tripura with 42, Manipur 23, Meghalaya 21, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland 18 each and Mizoram 10. Customers could complain to the BO through email, letter or the prescribed form for redress of grievances. The Scheme has been criticised as too narrow in scope and loaded against savers.

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Banking: Free Third-party ATM Withdrawals

The number of free withdrawals from third-party ATMs (automated teller machines) is likely to come down from five per month to two for bank account-holders in cities. RBI has asked banks to continue with the existing facility for rural ATMs. If there is no home bank ATM nearby and customers have exhausted their free usage, they will have to pay up to Rs20 for a cash withdrawal from a third-party ATM.

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Regulation: Unclaimed Funds of Rs3,454 Crore Lying with Companies
Companies held unclaimed funds worth Rs3,454.3 crore up to March 2014; such amounts would be transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund after seven years, if not claimed, Parliament was informed. The unclaimed and unpaid amounts lying with companies were on account of dividends, matured deposits, debentures, among others, minister of state for corporate affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, told the Lok Sabha, based on the data uploaded by companies on the ministry’s website.
 
She also said that “no instance of a company transferring unclaimed dividends to its balance sheet has come to the notice of the government.”

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