Syndicate Bank pressurizing customers to regularize accounts despite 2 yrs moratorium

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SRINAGAR: Amid the ongoing current unrest, Syndicate Bank has started pressurizing cus­tomers to regularize accounts, despite two year RBI morato­rium granted soon after 2014 floods. The bank has begun even blocking various accounts with­out giving the customer suffi­cient time or prior intimation.

All Indian Banks decided to re­structure more than Rs.5,000 crore in loans disbursed to borrowers in Jammu and Kashmir soon after devastating floods in 2014.

“Individual borrowers were allowed to restructure their loans until March 2015 and seek a two year moratorium to repay loans. After the end of two years, the borrowers got seven years to repay their loans,” according to Indian Bank chairman and managing director T M Bhasin, who is also the head of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), the apex bankers’ lobby.

As per government morato­rium on loans given by coop­erative banks, defaulters were exempted from facing any action till March 31 next year. Even the government had also asked the cooperative banks to make the Know Your-Customer (KYC) reg­ulations procedures mandatory.

“The economic recovery following 2014 flood had only picked up when summer un­rest began in July 2016. Banks operating in J&K, particularly Kashmir valley were contem­plating further relief but Syndi­cate Bank went on an overdrive to pressurize borrowers.” said one Imtiyaz Ahmad.

Overall, Indian banks have 739 branches in the state, of which 456 branches are operational and the Syndicate Bank has a lone branch operating in Srinagar.

Established in 1979 bank had built a loyal customer base. However the management, in order to cover up irregulari­ties which surfaced soon after the floods, decided to squeeze account holders who have ap­proached courts for redressal of their grievances.

Various borrowers told news agency CNS that they were shocked to find their loan ac­counts were not properly insured and in some cases were insured for products they don’t deal in.

“We had taken loan against high end machinery like com­puters and printers, and the same was hypothecated with the bank. However the descrip­tion of items insured by the bank shows only paper,” said Aijaz Ahmad manager of a leading publishing house.

When asked about blocking of accounts of borrowers, top Bank official said that the fault lies with his predecessors. “We will look into the matter,” he said. (CNS)

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