RBI to discuss Damodaran committee recommendations with IBA
Moneylife Digital Team 17 November 2011

The apex bank will discuss the suggestions on pre-penalty on foreclosure of home loan, Internet and mobile banking with the IBA; Out of the 230 recommendation of the Damodaran Committee around 88 have already been accepted by the RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has accepted 88 out of the 230 recommendations made by the Damodaran committee on customer services. While some of them are already in the public domain, the apex bank would be discussing the remaining suggestions with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) later this month.

Sources say that the 88 recommendations, where bankers had consensus, include recommendations such as banks should sell standalone financial products and not bundle it with any other product, have been accepted by the RBI. Some pending recommendations such as not imposing pre-penalty on foreclosure of home loan and suggestions made on mobile and internet banking, RBI will have a discussion with IBA by the end of this month.  

The Committee, headed by former SEBI chairman M Damodaran, was set up by the central bank to look into the issues of customer services and evaluate the existing system of grievance redressal mechanism prevalent in banks, its structure and efficacy and recommend measures for expeditious resolution of complaints.

On housing loan foreclosure charges, the Committee had suggested that banks should not impose exorbitant penal rates towards foreclosure of home loans and a policy should be devised to ensure that a customer is not denied the opportunity to enhance his economic welfare by making choices such as switching to other banks or financial entities to enjoy the benefits conferred on by market competition. While on internet banking, the Committee said that there should be zero-liability on customers for any loss in electronic transactions.

On mobile banking, the committee recommended that there should be tiered security based on different parameters such as transaction value, destination of transaction (two-level authorisation for non-routine destinations), security based on hand-sets, and the frequency of payments. All the grievances of mobile banking should be addressed by the banks only, without referring the customer to the service providers. The agreements of the banks with the telecom service providers should incorporate suitable provisions to address mobile banking grievances.

According to experts, the suggestions relating to the Internet and mobile banking had put an onus on the banks by giving extra power to customers. However, this had irked many banks stating that customers would get away even after committing a mistake.

Sources say that there would be a discussion with the IBA on developing a full proof environment for Internet and mobile banking.

In September, RBI, in its annual conference on banking ombudsmen, had stated that “banks must not recover pre-payment charges in floating rate loans. Banks may offer long-term fixed rate housing loans to their customers and address their asset liability mismatch (ALM) issues by recourse to the interest rate swaps market.”

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