Money & Banking
M Veerappa Moily, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, assures a discussion on ever-increasing bank charges
M Veerappa Moily, Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliament on finance assured a group of activists that the issue of ever rising and unfair bank charges would be discussed in detail by the committee. The meeting, which included Mr Dinesh Trivedi (of the All India Trinamool Congress) and Mr TK Rangarajan (Communists Party of India-Marxist) was told how banks have begun to levy a series of unjustified and unconscionable charges on customers, which actually hurt poorer customers at a time when the government is working at financial inclusion, while rich customers with large deposits are not charged. They drew attention to the furore caused by State Bank of India (SBI) decision to charge Rs25 on every single cash withdrawal from SBI Buddy app through ATM.
 
The group, including well known NGOs, trade unions, finance editors and experts presented Mr Moily a 1,100 page print out of over 100,000 signatures to an online petition at Change.org protesting against discriminatory bank charges and demanding action.
 
The group also submitted a Memorandum with seven points and requested that these be addressed urgently. 
 
The meeting was coordinated by Mr Sanjay Nirupam, President, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee and former Member of Parliament. 
 
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance was in Mumbai for meetings with banks, insurance companies and financial institutions on 12th and 13th May. 
 
The group told the Standing Committee that although the Reserve Bank of India requires bank charges to be reasonable, how it refuses to go into the reasonableness of charges and allows banks to operate as a cartel. Since consumers are a disaggregated lot, they are unable to fight back.
 
The group asked for the following key issues to be dealt with urgently. 
 
1. Ensure Digital Safety by converting RBI’s draft circular of August 2016 into a formal Master Circular, thereby limiting customer liability and shifting the onus of proving customer fault to banks. This is in line with international best practices.
 
2. Remove Average Minimum Balance Charges: If a customer’s balance is low, then the bank can downgrade the account to a Zero Balance or No-Frills Account (and reduce services like chequebook facilities etc.). It cannot levy a charge. This is in line with international practices.
 
3. Remove charge on cash transactions, or low value cheques, which discriminates against economically weaker bank customers and students. 
 
4. End Discrimination against old borrowers vis-à-vis New ones for Loans- where new customers are offered significantly lower interest even on floating rate loans.
 
5. Banks must be ordered to stop the discriminatory charge levied to reduce interest rate on floating rate loans. (There is no such charge or delay when interest rates increase).
 
6. Making NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) transactions safe by capturing additional data such as name and branch details and have a robust redress process for inadvertent mistakes. 
 
7. Bank services must have a rational, transparent and non-discriminatory pricing framework for banks based on a detailed costing of all products and services
 
The group of activists who met the standing committee members: Sucheta Dalal, Trustee, Moneylife Foundation; AV Shenoy from the Rashtriya Matadata Manch; Ms Lalita Joshi and Mr Devidas Tuljapurkar, both Joint Secretaries of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA); Harsh Vardhan Roongta, Financial Expert and Advisor; RN Bhaskar, Senior Editor and columnist; Dolphy D’souza, Convener, Police Reforms Watch; DS Ranga Rao, Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT); and Yogesh Sapkale, Director (Projects), Moneylife Foundation. Several leading unions and activists have signed and supported the Memorandum on bank charges. 
 

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COMMENTS

Sudharsan R

2 months ago

Pure heavy charges. Minimum balance charges even if we don't have money... Purely sucking public that too an average minimum balance of 500 and 1000 is reasonably OK but 3000 and 5000 is very high in public sector bank SBI

Ravindra Bhat

2 months ago

Hope things fall in place... And arrogance of these banks falls flat. Great initiative from money life...

Suketu Shah

2 months ago

PMO office(not MoF as of today) shd have moneylife advising them directly on suggestions on major changes required in financial/banking,etc sectors in India.Positive results wl be much faster to protect customers.

Mahesh S Bhatt

2 months ago

Good Great Show Money Life. But I donot know how much the will materialise?
Mahesh Bhatt

Jagdish Chavan

2 months ago

Great and timely efforts by MLF.

Simple Indian

2 months ago

A very good initiative taken by MLF. All the points mentioned for action / implementation are justified and will benefit millions of Bank customers who have been forced to put up with the whims n fancies of Banks all this while. Will be good if the concerned Govt Depts/RBI/Banks take note and implement the same at the earliest.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 months ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 months ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 months ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

ksrao

2 months ago

At a time when the government is thinking of extensive use of digitisation for all financial transactions, banks' increasing and imposing charges is just anti-national.

Australia considers laptop ban on commercial flights
Australia is considering banning laptops in cabin baggage on commercial flights to prevent terrorist attacks following similar moves by the US and UK, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.
 
"We are looking at it very closely. We are taking into account all of the information and advice we're receiving internationally and we're working very closely with our partners," Turnbull told the media.
 
"In due course, any announcements will be made formally though the transport minister," he added.
 
Turnbull did not elaborate on which destinations would be affected by the proposed measure, Efe news reported.
 
European and US authorities will meet this week in Brussels as Washington considers whether to expand its laptop ban to include countries from the European Union.
 
US officials previously said that the ban on large electronic devices, in force since March, was based on intelligence information indicating that terrorist groups have designed bombs that can be concealed in electronic devices and could circumvent security measures at airports. 
 
In March, the UK announced a cabin luggage ban on laptops, tablets and e-readers on passenger flights from certain airports.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Ford plans to cut 10% global staff
US automaker Ford Motor is making plans to cut about 10 per cent of its global staff, which could mean about 20,000 jobs worldwide, according to a media report.
 
Most of the jobs will be salaried workers who do not have union protection, rather than the 57,000 US hourly staff who work on assembly lines, CNN quoted The Wall Street Journal as saying in the report on Monday night.
 
The company did not confirm or deny the report, saying only that "reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible" is one of its key priorities, but that it has yet to announce any new job cuts.
 
Ford announced last month that it was looking to reduce costs by $3 billion in order to offset efforts to invest in "emerging opportunities".
 
The company has said that efforts to develop the next generation of electric and self-driving cars would lead to a lower profit margin in the near term. Those are expensive, long-term bets that will take some time to pay off, if they ever do. 
 
Ford announced the $3 billion cost cutting goal at the same time it reported sharply lower first quarter earnings, reports CNN.
 
The company has been under pressure from shareholders about declining profits and a weak share price. Earlier this year shares of electric car manufacturer Tesla (TSLA), which is a fraction of Ford's size, passed Ford in terms of market value. 
 
But Ford and other US automakers have also been under pressure from President Donald Trump to create US jobs. 
 
Ford won praise from Trump when it announced in January that it was scrapping plans for a plant in Mexico and would invest $700 million in a Michigan plant to build electric and self-driving cars, CNN reported.
 
But the company is still moving ahead with plans announced last year to shift all small car production to Mexico. 
 
Plans for the next Mexican plant were dropped because of lower demand for small cars altogether. The small cars that were to be built there will now be built at another Mexican plant.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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