Kanungo Committee Addresses Key Concerns, Now Make Your Voice Heard
Greetings! This month, I'm glad to share that the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) customer services committee headed by former deputy governor, BP Kanungo, has accepted and addressed most of the key customer concerns that I had presented to the committee a few months ago.
The Kanungo committee's recommendations if accepted will be good for us customers. The RBI has sought comments from all stakeholders and customers before 7th July, before acting on the recommendations. It is safe to bet that powerful banks will be writing to the RBI and getting heard. We as customers also have a chance to put forward our views. So I would urge you to take their opportunity to send an email to the RBI in the next 7 days to [email protected]
A sample draft of the email that you as a bank customer, may want to send to the RBI has been made available here. Please modify it to highlight the specific issues that concern you.
Below in a nutshell are some of the important recommendations made by the Kanungo committee:
KYC Harassment: The report categorically asserts that regulation does not allow the freezing of customer accounts and dishonouring of cheques for want of KYC updation. But banks have been freezing accounts with impunity for failure to comply with KYC norms, even when they themselves have repeatedly failed to inform customers about the need to update KYC. The report suggests introducing a centralised database for KYC documents to avoid repeated submission of the same and has also suggested revising guidelines for risk categorisation of customers.
Liability Insurance: Such insurance is needed in all banks and REs, in order to compensate customers who may suffer an injury while availing services at such premises. The committee recommends that all regulated entities must take an adequate insurance cover to ensure that customers are adequately compensated. It should be noted that Banks already have such insurance but there is no mechanism to ensure payment and furthermore, bank staff are unaware of the insurance. This recommendation which imposes no additional cost on the REs, and will be of great benefit to depositors.
Absence of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for nominations: Issues relating to transmission of funds to nominees and heirs have caused undue harassment to customers because of the absence of SOPs. The committee has suggested that the Indian Bank Association (IBA) may update it's model operating procedure (MOP), in line with regulation, for hassle-free settlement of claims in various scenarios.
Lost Documents: The loss of original property documents deposited as collateral with bank or REs permanently damages the value of the property and causes untold harassment to customers. Bank often refuse to accept responsibility for getting certified copies and never compensate borrowers for the loss of property value. The committee recommends that regulated entities should not only be obligated to assist in obtaining certified copies of documents at their cost but also compensate the customer adequately.
Tech Traceability: The committee has suggested that recourse to technology should be a two-way process and that insistence of physical visits should be avoided. The same is applicable for mis-selling of third-party products, harassment of senior citizens for life certificates and the need for doorstep services.
Housing Society Problems & Solutions
As you all know, Mr Shirish Shanbhag who recently completed ten years of association with Moneylife Foundation, provides counseling and guidance on all housing society and property related matters, through one-on-one sessions and also on our online Legal Helpline. For the past few months, Moneylife has also published weekly columns that showcase a few select problems from our readers and members, along with the comprehensive and yet concise solutions provided by Mr Shanbhag.
If you are facing a problem within your housing society with respect to parking, maintenance, leakage or need guidance on redevelopment, deemed conveyance or any such matters, do make the time to read the weekly column. You may find a solution to your problem, or you can post your query on our Helpline where it would be answered by Mr Shanbhag. Here are some that may be of interest,
Frauds, Scams and Mis-selling of Financial Products
Over the years through Moneylife Foundation, we have strived to educate our members on matters of financial literacy and made efforts to spread consumer awareness on important issues through seminars and workshops, and articles published on Moneylife. We have also made efforts to provide guidance and grievance counseling to many through our helplines and daily clinics. Yet, we still hear about tales of fraud, misfortune and mis-selling from our members and from those who approach Moneylife Foundation for advice.
We came across one such case last week, where a senior citizen couple and their daughter were sweet-talked by a bank's relationship manager (RM), to withdraw funds from PPF accounts and invest them into various insurance policies with hefty unaffordable annual premiums. The RM even convinced them to open demat accounts and invested their savings into mutual fund schemes. It's disheartening and sad to see that people still remain woefully unaware and naïve about personal finance matters, while claiming ignorance and having blind faith in RMs.
As of Moneylife Foundation, you have access to a vast amount of resources on our website (Helplines, Fraud Alerts and Guides or Templates) and on our YouTube Channel. Please spare some time to check them out and spread the word, as these resources will help you stay safe and vigilant. Do encourage others to become members as well, so many more can benefit!
It started as an exercise to do counseling and workshops online during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, but has now become part of our regular routine. For those who have not been keeping up, we have been hosting webinars online on a wide range of topics from right to information, health, financial literacy, broker defaults and investor grievance mechanisms, redevelopment and conveyance, wills and nominations, and more. Video recordings of all our webinars are available on our YouTube channel. Do subscribe, so that you get notified when a new video is available.
If you would like to be notified when our next webinar is scheduled, please become a member of Moneylife Foundation so that you are automatically added to our mailing lists. Do encourage others to join and take advantage as well!
Our Counseling Sessions
It's been a few months since we restarted our in-person one-to-one counseling sessions, and we are glad to report that many of you have taken advantage of this FREE service. Our experts, Mr Shirish Shanbhag for housing society and property related matters, and Mr Abhay Datar for banking, insurance, medi-claim and consumer related issues, have continued to provide workable solutions to your grievances and have helped many in these past few months to resolve issues.
They spend their valuable time to provide guidance through counseling sessions and also through our online helplines, and their efforts continue to help many of those who have sought help. If you have a specific concern or issue related to co-operative housing societies, insurance, mediclaim or consumer related complaints, do call our office - (022) 2444 1058 or (022) 2444 1059 for an appointment if you are in Mumbai. Otherwise use our Free Helplines for guidance.
Consumer Awareness & Financial Literacy
As members of Moneylife Foundation, you have access to various content in the form webinars, recorded videos and articles on matters of consumer awareness and financial literacy that we have published on our websites and YouTube channels. All of our published content is available for free, with no restrictions whatsoever. If you've not taken the time to educate yourself, please do so and spread the word about our work to your friends, colleagues and family so that many others can benefit.
As consumers you need to be vigilant when shopping or transacting online. Deals that seem too good to be true, are most likely scams designed to lure unsuspecting consumers. Thousands of people become victims of holiday scams every year. Scammers can rob you of hard-earned money, personal information, and at the very least, a festive mood. It is important you remain vigilant and aware in an increasingly online world that becomes unsafe for consumers in new ways everyday. Moneylife Foundation has actively made efforts on several fronts in this regard.
We continue to educate our members on the latest frauds, scams and attractive yet fraudulent schemes through series of articles on Moneylife. Our Youtube Channel has a vast repository of videos from past seminars and workshops, as well as short videos on topics of financial literacy which are a great resource to those willing to spend some time learning. Our online helplines are always open for counselling from a panel of experts on issues on banking, insurance, housing and property related matters, consumer and other issues.
Do take the time to read our articles, watch the videos and also share them with others, so that many more can take advantage of the knowledge and remain safe. Please also do encourage your friends, family members and colleagues to become members of Moneylife Foundation.
Take extra precaution when using banking apps, websites or e-commerce sites while shopping, as they have been instances of fake apps and fraudulent websites masquerading as authorised ones. Read this article to know what you should do when you are cheated while shopping online and follow this how-to guide when you want to file a consumer complaint.
Do subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular updates and notifications when a new video is released, and also encourage your friends and family to do so as well. After all, the more number of people that watch and learn from these short videos, the more financially literate we can all be.
We are also happy to send them to you in the language of your choice on WhatsApp and Telegram if you share your numbers at Moneylife Foundation's WhatsApp number (+91 7045156415). This is also a good opportunity for you to join our WhatsApp broadcast list as well as our telegram channel. Join to stay in the loop about Moneylife Foundation's activities.
Do send us your feedback on these and if you have benefitted from our work, please do not forget to pass it forward by introducing our videos, free helplines and membership benefit to others. Do register for a free membership and also encourage your friends and family to join as well.
File your RTI Applications with Expert Guidance
RTI Advice App पर विस्तृत गाइड से विशिष्ट उपयोग के मामलों के लिए आरटीआई आवेदन दाखिल करने का तरीका जानें। हिंदी और मराठी भाषाओं में उपलब्ध।
Many of you are already aware of our 'RTI Advice' app, which was launched for both android and iOS devices a year ago. The app helps you get expert advice on your RTI queries in any language or format (text, audio or video) and access to over 900 queries that are already asked and answered by our 14 highly regarded RTI experts.
Don't worry about how to navigate the app—we now have user guides for you in English, Hindi and Marathi! Download the app or access the guides from our website here.
This month, we had organised another important session with Aparna Ramachandra, founder-director of Rectify Credit. The session covered some essential strategies and tips for building a robust credit profile and for improving your existing credit score. If you missed this important webinar, you can always watch a video recording of the same on our YouTube channel here. The session was well attended by interested members of Moneylife Foundation on Zoom and also on our YouTube and Facebook channels.
Also, Moneylife Foundation is now on Telegram and Instagram, so do follow us on these channels to stay updated on our activities and events.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal, Debashis Basu.
Moneylife Foundation is registered with the Charity Commissioner of Mumbai, is an Affiliate member of OECD's International Network on Financial Education, is a Supporter Member of Consumers International, Development Partner of Advocates for International Development (A4ID), and is a winner of the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award.
Donations are eligible for tax benefits under Sec 80G of the Income Tax 1961 (50% tax exemption) and MLF is registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.