RBI asks banks to follow norms for opening branch

RTI applicant says RBI must carry nation-wise reality check

GN Bureau | January 21, 2013



The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all its commercial banks to strictly adhere to ‘Premises Acquisition Norms’. The fresh guidelines were issued on a RTI reply in which the RBI said, “It has been observed in certain cases that banks have not complied with the above instructions while acquiring premises for their branches causing avoidable inconvenience to customers and possible reputational risk to the banks.”

It stated, “It is therefore, reiterated that banks should strictly adhere to the policy and operational guidelines formulated by their board of directors for hiring premises on lease/rental basis in respect of metropolitan, urban, semi-urban and rural areas.”

The fresh guidelines came after several banks (commercial and private) flouted norms by operating on branches in Noida residential areas. These branches were closed on residential areas after a supreme court order in 2011. “The banks broke the RBI guidelines. Over 10 lakh customers got affected as they were transacting with the banks on residential premises in Noida for several years. This has led to mental agony, inconvenience and harassment to customers,” said commodore (rtd.) Lokesh Batra, who filed an RTI in this regard.

He also demanded, “Action (as per the law) against defaulting banks. And, learning from this (Noida) experience, RBI should carry out nation-wise reality check to ensure that these types of violations by banks are not happening anywhere else in the country.”

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