Banks are supposed to provide doorstep banking to senior citizens and differently abled persons
Moneylife Digital Team 25 July 2018
Many a times, most senior citizens (70 years and above) and persons with disabilities find it difficult to visit ATMs or bank branches for their banking requirements. Banks also discourage and turn away such people instead of empathising with their difficulties or helping them avail of services. Consequently, based on representations and complaints, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had asked banks to provided doorstep banking service to senior citizens and differently abled persons. However, many in the target groups, who need such help, are not aware of this direction. Since senior citizens were often harassed for submission of a life certificate and were asked to visit specific branches, the RBI has also directed banks to accept them at all branches. This is another facility that is not known to the lay person.
 
In a circular issued on 9 November 2017, the Reserve Bank had said, "...in view of the difficulties faced by senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently abled or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability) including those who are visually impaired, banks are advised to make concerted effort to provide basic banking facilities, such as pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of cash against withdrawal from account, delivery of demand drafts, submission of know your customer (KYC) documents and life certificate at the premises and residence of such customers.
 
RBI Governor Dr Urjit Patel, in a statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies issued in October 2017, had explicitly mentioned about providing banking facilities to senior citizens and differently abled persons. "It has been reported that banks are discouraging or turning away senior citizens and differently abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. 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. It has been decided to instruct banks to put in place explicit mechanisms for meeting the needs of such persons so that they do not feel marginalised. Ombudsmen will also be advised to pay heed to complaints in this context," the central bank had said.
 
The circular issued by RBI in November 2017, had asked banks to implement its instruction by 31 December 2017 and also give due publicity of these extended facilities to senior citizens and differently able persons in their branches and on website.
 
(a) Dedicated Counters/Preference to Senior Citizens, Differently abled persons
RBI had asked banks to provide a clearly identifiable dedicated counter or a counter, which provides priority to senior citizens and people who are differently abled including visually impaired persons.
 
(b) Ease of submitting Life Certificate
 
As per extant guidelines issued by Department of Government and Bank Accounts, in addition to the facility of Digital Life Certificate under “Jeevan Praman” Scheme, RBI says pensioners can submit physical life certificate form at any branch of their pension paying bank. 
 
Reserve Bank said it is observed that often the life certificate is not updated promptly by the receiving branch in the core banking solution (CBS) system of the Bank, resulting in avoidable hardship to the pensioners. "It is, therefore, advised that banks shall ensure that when a life certificate is submitted in any branch, including a non-home branch, of the pension paying bank, the same is updated or uploaded promptly in CBS by the receiving branch itself, to avoid any delay in credit of pension," RBI says. 
 
This means a customer a Bank can submit her life certificate in any branch of the Bank. For example, a senior citizen customer of State Bank of India (SBI) from Mumbai can submit her life certificate in a branch at Delhi or any other place and not necessarily at the home branch (where she has her account). 
 
(c) Cheque Book Facility
 
(i) Banks shall issue cheque books to customers, whenever a request is received, through a requisition slip which is part of the cheque book issued earlier.
(ii) Banks are advised to provide minimum 25 cheque leaves every year, if requested, in savings bank account, free of charge.
(iii) Banks shall not insist on physical presence of any customer including senior citizens and differently abled persons for getting cheque books.
(iv) Banks may also issue cheque books, on requisition, by any other mode as per Bank’s laid down policy.
 
(d) Automatic conversion of status of accounts
Presently, in some banks, even fully KYC - compliant accounts are not automatically converted into ‘Senior Citizen Accounts’ on the basis of date of birth maintained in the bank’s records. Banks are advised that a fully KYC compliant account should automatically be converted into a ‘Senior Citizen Account’ based on the date of birth available in bank’s records.
 
(e) Additional Facilities to visually impaired customers
RBI has advised banks to provide facilities to sick, old or incapacitated persons. (Ref: Paragraph 9 of RBI Master Circular DBR.No.Leg.BC.21/09.07.006/2015-16 dated 1 July 2015 on Customer Service in Banks) This circular talks about operations of accounts through identification of thumb, toe impression or mark by two independent witnesses and authorising a person who would withdraw the amount on behalf of such customers that should be extended to the visually impaired customers.
 
(f) Ease of filing Form 15G/H
RBI also asked banks to provide senior citizens and differently abled persons Form 15G/H once in a year, preferably in April, to enable them to submit the same, where applicable, within the stipulated time.
 
What to do if Bank refuse any of the above mentioned services?
Reserve Bank had directed banks to set up an appropriate Grievance Redressal Machinery internally for redressing complaints about services rendered by its ‘agents’. The name and telephone number of the designated Grievance Redressal officer of the ‘bank’ must be made available to customers including on the bank’s website. The designated officer is required to ensure that genuine grievances of customers are redressed promptly. 
 
This means, the senior citizen or differently able person first need to approach designated Grievance Redressal officer of the bank and submit her complaint. If there is no reply received within 30 days or the bank had rejected her complaint or the customer is not satisfied with the bank's reply she need to escalate the matter.  
 
If a customer feels that her complaint has not been satisfactorily addressed by the designated Grievance Redressal officer of the bank, she can approach the Banking Ombudsman's office in her area. Here is the link to offices of Banking Ombudsman spread across the country... https://www.rbi.org.in/commonman/English/Scripts/AgainstBankABO.aspx 
 
From this link, the customer can even file complaint online.
Comments
suneel kumar gupta
3 years ago
Idea seems excellent but security concern of such gullible people comes at stake. Complete must be laid for successful operation.
Deepak Narain
3 years ago
Despite all these platitudes, reality at the ground level is very disturbing. Instead of advice, RBI should ORDER all the Banks to follow these suggestions meticulously.
ptikamdas
3 years ago
It is a commendable initiative but the bank officials as we know their mindset over the years would not heed. I suppose. Pessimism obviously based on experience over the decades.
Silloo Marker
3 years ago
The circular of the RBI issued on 7th November 2017, to facilitate banking services for senior citizens and medically certified handicapped persons, should make life easier for senior citizens. Do hope the banks are aware of this development! Generally, rules remain on paper unless one takes the trouble to see that they are put into action. The onus is on the same Senior Citizen or the Handicapped Person to have his Grievance redressed. The manager of the bank or some authority should be made responsible for ensuring that in trying to make life easier for senior or handicapped citizens, they are not made to do an extra round of running around.
K V RAO
3 years ago
It is incorrect to generalise that all senior citizens should get preferential treatment. Interestingly banks give preferential treatment based on value of accounts. If it is said that all senior citizens irrespective of their status should get preferential treatment,it is a tall order. Doubtful whether banks are equipped to face that situation.
Debo C
3 years ago
with SBI, Citibank, many private banks you can submit chequebook requests through mobile app or online. if banks have to send someone to doorstep of every senior citizen, bank will become a social service department which it is not
MOHAN SIROYA
3 years ago
Thanks to Moneylife for bringing in this topic again.
You are right most of the senior citizens or differently abled may not be aware of these RBI directives that they are elibile to get home service privileges from the bank. But even those who are aware and ask for it ,are they getting ? My experience is plain and simple NO
1. Many years before this Nov. 2017 circular of RBI a few bacnks and even Post offices used to have such dedicated counters or the preferential service on the same counter. No more such facility or demarcation in Banks to day. If any senior complains to the Branch Manager, then he orders the counterman to give him /her
preferential service.
c) CQ.book facility : To submit a requisition duly signed, the account holder has to go to the bank and submit, Bank does not get it collected from home .But why a request from the registered mobile no. is not accepted to avoid personal visit ?

Even aftr getting signed requisition, it takes 8-10 days to get the CQ book delivered as it is now personalized and reires details of account no. and name of the signatory printed on the CQS.

D) Auto conversion of the status to a senior citizen account is not done on the basis of kYCor DOB being available. Account holder hs to go in person to the branch and get it done. There is an instanc eof IDBI bank, where instead of auto change of account to the Senior citizen ,it was converted into a lower category without intimating to the account holder ,which disqualified the account holder to issue r receive cheque of a larger amount.

F) Ease of filing 15G/H : For last so many years including in April 2018, No bank has ever sent these forms duly filled in for the signature of senior citizen at his/her home.They qre required to go ,fill the form in Triplicate by themselves( Whether correctly or wrongly) na banks hands over a copy as ack .duly stamped.

G) This is the most tall and false claim of RBI .What happens if bank fails to comply? Nothing. Most of the banks do not have any robust laid down grievance procedure even on their web site. When even Nodal officer does not care to reply , customer has to jump into the whirlpool. Complaint is first made to the RBI's Consumer Education and Protection Committee (CEPC), which routinely advises to refer this to the Banking Ombudsman. When done to the Banking Ombudsman ,it even doe not get any ack or complaint no. since it was shifted from Worli to Byculla, although BO scheme provides such mandate. Aftr 6-8 months continuous follow up, one fine day, lone line reply form Banking Ombudsman office will come informing "Complaint is disposed of "Summarrily" meaning no appeal to executive director of RBI can be made. AND THIS IS DONE WITHOUT EVEN HEARING THE COMPLAINANT..

This is a ground reality of privileges to senior Citizens or differently abled bank customers. Call it a Farce or Beneficial heaven as claimed by RBI.
Ramesh Poapt
3 years ago
In practice,banks are rudewith sr.citizens.just ad of Kalyan jewellers revoked.it was too much though
Free Helpline
Legal Credit
Feedback