Most senior citizens may be having savings accounts, especially pension accounts with our nationalized banks. Visiting the banks for any transactions may at times be a huge hassle for people. Usually, there is a big crowd to deposit or withdraw money or conduct any other operation. Despite the e-banking and ATM facility, a majority of people, still prefer to bank in person. The issue here is the long queues and waiting time, and that is an irritating factor, especially if your health is not in good condition.
Standing in queues for long, or having to wait it out for some transaction to finish, or going from desk to desk to complete one, can be tiresome. Also, for pensioners, there is this matter of submitting the Life certificate once every year. At times, if you have changed houses or even the city, state or country, this too can be a cumbersome activity. The need is to present this in person at the bank branch with which you have the pension account. Here is where the RBI has come to the rescue of senior citizens. However, it appears that not many are aware of the changes that RBI has brought in and are hence not availing the facilities extended to them.
List of facilities
Given below is a list of guidelines put in place by RBI, vide a circular date Nov 9, 2017, to have been brought into effect by December the same year. So, it is now in effect across the country.
- All bank branches have been issued guidelines to keep an identifiable separate counter for senior citizens and differently abled persons.
- You may now submit the Life certificate in any branch of the pension paying bank (including out of state), and that branch must ensure that this is updated in the CBS (Core Banking Solution) so that the pensioners do not face any issue. Often, the other branches receiving the Life certificate were not updating it in the CBS, and hence pensioners were facing issues. Stern guidelines have been issued to all branches on this by the RBI.
- The physical presence of senior citizens and differently abled people is not required for them to get issued checkbooks. A minimum of 25 cheque leaves against a savings account, can be issued free of charge every year, based on a requisition received by any means as per the laid down policy of the bank.
- Savings accounts will henceforth be automatically converted to senior citizen accounts, provided that the account is KYC compliant and the date of birth is available for the same.
- Senior citizens and differently abled people will also be provided with Form 15G/H, once a year, preferably in April, so that they can file the same within a stipulated time.
- Even though doorstep banking circular was in vogue, it was not strictly being practiced. Hence, RBI now has issued guidelines to banks to provide basic banking facilities such as, pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of cash against withdrawal from the account, delivery of demand drafts, submission of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents and Life certificate at the premises/ residence of such customers, who are above 70 years of age, or are differently abled or are certified as infirm.
All banks were told to adhere by these guidelines and also publicize these facilities to their customers. However, most people who need to avail these facilities do not appear to know about these. If any of the banks refuse to provide you any of the above, or mistreat you or marginalize you when you visit their branch, then you are free to submit a grievance to their redressal cell about the same.
There will be a Grievance Redressal Officer in every bank, and the contact number of this person is to be displayed in the branch. Senior citizens can approach this person and submit their complaint, and the said officer and action will verify it will be taken upon, within 30 days. If not, the complainant has the right to escalate the matter further, if required. The next step could be to approach the banking ombudsman in the area and present the case there for redressal.
Check it out
If you are one of those who have struggled to complete your banking transactions by visiting the branch and are eligible for a doorstep service as per above guidelines, please talk to your bank representative and get things rolling. You may well find that a big hassle has been addressed, thanks to the RBI guidelines.