Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies – October 4, 2017- Banking Facility for Senior Citizens and Differently abled Persons

Refer to Paragraph 8 of Statement on Developmental and Regulatory
Policies, released by Reserve Bank of India on October 4, 2017 as part of Fourth Bimonthly
Monetary Policy Statement 2017-18, a copy of which is enclosed. It has
been observed that there are occasions when banks discourage or turn away senior
citizens and differently abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches.
Notwithstanding the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is
imperative to be sensitive to the requirements of senior citizens and differently abled
persons.
2. In view of the above, banks are required to put in place appropriate mechanism
with the following specific provisions for meeting the needs of such customers so
that they are able to avail of the bank’s services without difficulty.

(a) Dedicated Counters/Preference to Senior Citizens, Differently abled
persons
Banks are advised to provide a clearly identifiable dedicated counter or a counter
which provides priority to senior citizens and people who are differently abled
including visually impaired persons.

(b) Ease of submitting Life Certificate
As per extant guidelines issued by Department of Government and Bank Accounts,
in addition to the facility of Digital Life Certificate under “Jeevan Praman” Scheme
(refer circular DGBA.GAD.H-2529/45.01.001/2014-15 dated December 9, 2014),
pensioners can submit physical Life Certificate form at any branch of the pension
paying bank. However, it is observed that often the same is not updated promptly by
the receiving branch in the Core Banking Solution (CBS) system of the bank,
resulting in avoidable hardship to the pensioners. It is, therefore, advised that banks
shall ensure that when a Life Certificate is submitted in any branch, including a nonhome
branch, of the pension paying bank, the same is updated/ uploaded promptly
in CBS by the receiving branch itself, to avoid any delay in credit of pension.

(c) Cheque Book Facility
(i) Banks shall issue cheque books to customers, whenever a request is
received, through a requisition slip which is part of the cheque book issued earlier.
(ii) Banks are advised to provide minimum 25 cheque leaves every year, if
requested, in savings bank account, free of charge.
(iii) Banks shall not insist on physical presence of any customer including senior
citizens and differently abled persons for getting cheque books.
(iv) Banks may also issue cheque books, on requisition, by any other mode as per
bank’s laid down policy.
It is further clarified that providing such facility in BSBDA will not render the
account to be classified as non-BSBDA (c.f. Bank’s response to query number 14
and 24 of our circular “DBOD.No. Leg. BC.52/09.07.005/2013-14 dated September
11, 2013 on Financial Inclusion – Access to Banking Services – BSBDA – FAQs”).

(d) Automatic conversion of status of accounts
Presently, in some banks, even fully KYC – compliant accounts are not automatically
converted into ‘Senior Citizen Accounts’ on the basis of date of birth maintained in
the bank’s records. Banks are advised that a fully KYC compliant account should
automatically be converted into a ‘Senior Citizen Account’ based on the date of birth
available in bank’s records.

(e) Additional Facilities to visually impaired customers
Banks are advised that the facilities provided to sick/old/incapacitated persons vide
Paragraph 9 of our Master Circular DBR.No.Leg.BC.21/09.07.006/2015-16 dated
July 1, 2015 on Customer Service in Banks (regarding operations of accounts
through identification of thumb/toe impression/mark by two independent witnesses
and authorising a person who would withdraw the amount on behalf of such
customers) shall also be extended to the visually impaired customers.
(f) Ease of filing Form 15G/H
Banks are advised to provide senior citizens and differently abled persons Form
15G/H once in a year (preferably in April) to enable them to submit the same, where
applicable, within the stipulated time.

(g) Door Step Banking
We have issued instructions on Doorstep Banking vide circular
DBOD.No.BL.BC.59/22.01.010/2006-2007 dated February 21, 2007 under Section
23 of Banking Regulation Act, 1949. However, in view of the difficulties faced by
senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently abled or infirm persons
(having medically certified chronic illness or disability) including those who are
visually impaired, banks are advised to make concerted effort to provide basic
banking facilities, such as pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of
cash against withdrawal from account, delivery of demand drafts, submission of
Know Your Customer (KYC) documents and Life certificate at the premises/
residence of such customers.

Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies, Reserve Bank of India
issued by the Governor on October 4, 2017
8. Banking Facility for Senior Citizens and Differently abled Persons
It has been reported that banks are discouraging or turning away senior citizens and
differently abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. Notwithstanding
the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is imperative to be sensitive
to the requirements of senior citizens and differently abled persons. It has been
decided to instruct banks to put in place explicit mechanisms for meeting the needs
of such persons so that they do not feel marginalized. Ombudsmen will also be
advised to pay heed to complaints in this context. Necessary instructions in this
regard will be issued by end-October 2017.

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