Syndicate Bank bid to cover up irregularities

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Srinagar: Disregarding the ongoing crisis, Syndicate Bank has started pressurizing customers to regularize accounts, despite two year RIBI 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 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 'All Type Of Papers', said Aijaz Ahmad manager of a leading publishing house.

Bank officials came out with lame excuses, like it is the fault of previous officials. When asked about blocking of accounts of borrowers who have approached courts, Branch Manager had no answer. CNS

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