RBI panel on bank customer services describes several improvements that can improve banking processes
The much-awaited report on bank customer services by a Reserve Bank of India-appointed committee has made several proposals like simplifying account opening forms, lowering charges for services and using SMS and email to communicate with customers that could go a long way to help customers.
These are in addition to a host of major recommendations on home loan rates, facilities for senior citizens and pensioners, education loans and the involvement of bank boards to strengthen customer services.
Moneylife has consistently campaigned for improvement in banking services for customers and pushed hard for the timely publication of the report by the special committee which was headed by M Damodaran, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The committee was set up over a year ago, and it submitted its report in the first week of July, only after the Karnataka High Court threatened to summon the RBI governor to explain the delay in the completion of the work.
Describing various initiatives, the report says banks should use SMS and e-mail to inform customers in case the account breaches the minimum balance and the charges applicable for not maintaining the balance. It says that penal charges should be in proportion to the shortfall of balance.
It has also proposed uniform account opening forms, as customers relocate often these days and the procedure followed by banks and the format for opening accounts differ from bank to bank causing inconvenience.
The committee has recommended increasing the ceiling of insurance cover on bank deposits from Rs1 lakh currently to Rs5 lakh.
On 'No Frills Accounts', the committee says the existing guidelines for opening these accounts require to be simplified to enable rapid fnancial inclusion.
About demand drafts, for which customers have to pay sizeable amounts even for a DD of small value, the committee recommended that banks should consider having a tear-away draft of definite denomination, or make electronic transfer of draft amount and issue a tear-away receipt which would reduce the time and cost for the user and the bank. "In the mean time, there could be pre-paid instruments of pre-determined value available to customers at a reasonable price."
The committee also recommended that receipt/acknowledgement should be provided on the cheque drop box along with the image of the cheque, as such facility offers convenience for banks (besides cost saving). The banks do not consider the advantages derived using the process whenever there is a dispute with the customer.
It also suggested that "the users (utilities, airlines, railways, etc) of electronic bank platforms for making collections may offer small discounts to their customers to favour electronic payments. This would result in substantial savings to them in cash management."
The committee has recommended that the Indian Banks' Association consider a toll-free Common Call Centre number (like Dial 100) for all banks. A customer would ring that number and thereafter get diverted to the bank concerned.
Addressing the growing complaints of customers relating to credit defaults, the committee said banks should be extra careful while reporting defaults. "Banks should be doubly careful while reporting a borrower as defaulter to the Credit Information Bureau. Banks should ensure that any representation from the customer in this matter is processed expeditiously."
The committee in its report stated that "exchange facilities for soiled/torn notes is a right of every citizen using such facilities and RBI, through its agents, should ensure that no holder of sovereign currency note is turned away at a bank counter when exchange facility is desired, irrespective of whether the person tendering the note is a customer or not."
The panel also recommended educating masses in the usage of technology in banking through the media and financial inclusion through branch expansions in the North-East.
The SEBI Complaints Redress System (SCORES), as the new system is called, would act as centralised database of all complaints and facilitate online movement of complaints to the concerned intermediaries
Mumbai: In a bid to better streamline the database, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has operationalised a centralised web-based complaints redress system where all investor complaints would be processed, reports PTI.
"SEBI has commenced processing of investor complaints in a centralised web-based complaints redress system-SCORES," it said in a circular.
The SEBI Complaints Redress System (SCORES), as the new system is called, would act as centralised database of all complaints and facilitate online movement of complaints to the concerned intermediaries.
Besides, online upload of Action Taken Reports (ATRs) by the concerned entities, investors can also find out about the status of pending complaints made by them.
"Accordingly, henceforth all complaints shall be forwarded electronically through SCORES only," it said, adding that from now onwards submission of physical ATRs will not be accepted for complaints lodged in SCORES.
The market regulator would also send a daily alert on pending complaints to concerned compliance officers.
Police raid office, said to belong to the MLM company, in suburban Mumbai; recover data of about 24 lakh people related to the company
The Esplanade Court in Mumbai has extended the police custody of Tarak Bajpai, chief operating officer of Speak Asia online Pte Ltd, and four others who were arrested last week on charges of fraud.
According to our sources, the police today raided an office in Walecha Chambers, Andheri, and found important data like names and other details, in the electronic form. It contains records of about 24 lakh people associated with Speak Asia, they said.
However, the multi-level marketing (MLM) company has been providing different figures on the number of panellist registered with it. During the court proceedings on the arrests, Speak Asia's counsel has said the company has 14 lakh panellists. This is lower than the figure of 19 lakh panellists that the company's chief executive Manoj Kumar Sharma had mentioned at a press conference on 16th May.
While the EOW is looking out for Mr Sharma and Haren Kaur, chairperson of Speak Asia, there are indications that the police may arrest some more persons associated with the multi-crore fraud.
Many agents of Speak Asia are said to be filing complaints against the company. According to information, a number of people from across the country are also coming forward to file complaints against Speak Asia at the offices of the Economic Offences Wing of the police.
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