RBI in its circular RBI/2017-18/89 /DBR.No.Leg.BC.96/09.07.005/2017-18 dated November 9, 2017 observed that there are occasions when banks discourage or turn away senior citizens and differently abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. In this regard, Developmental and Regulatory Policies, released by Reserve Bank of India on October 4, 2017 state that 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.
Banks are instructed to put in place appropriate mechanism with the following specific provisions for meeting the needs of such customers viz. 1. Dedicated Counters/Preference to Senior Citizens, Differently abled persons,2.Ease of submitting LIFE Certificate,3.FREE OF CHARGE cheque Book facility, 4. Filing of 15G/ H, 5. Automatic conversion of status of accounts,6.Additional Facilities to visually impaired customers,7. Door Step Banking to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age ,differently abled persons or infirm persons.
Banks are advised to implement the following instructions by December 31, 2017 in letter and spirit and give due publicity in their bank branches and website.
- Dedicated Counters/Preference to Senior Citizens, Differently abled persons
Banks are required easily identifiable dedicated counter or a counter which provides priority to senior citizens and people who are differently abled including visually impaired persons.
- Ease of submitting LIFE Certificate
In addition to the facility of digital certificate (in terms of guidelines issued by Department of Government and Bank Accounts vide circular No.DGBA.GAD.H-2529/45.01.001/2014-15 dated December 9, 2014) PENSIONERS CAN SUBMIT PHYSICAL CERTIFICATE FROM ANY BRANCH OF THE PENSION PAYING BANK.The Apex bank noticed 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.Banks are advised shall ensure that when a Life Certificate is submitted in any branch, including a non-home 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.
- FREE OF CHARGE cheque Book facility
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.In this respect Banks shall not insist on physical presence of any customer including senior citizens and differently abled persons for getting cheque books. Banks are advised to provide minimum 25 cheque leaves every year, if requested, in savings bank account, FREE OF CHARGE.Banks may also issue cheque books, on requisition, by any other mode as per bank’s laid down policy.It is also clarified by RBI that providing such facility in BSBDA will not render the account to be classified as non-BSBDA.
- Filing of 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.
- Automatic conversion of status of accounts
It is observed by the Central bank that 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.
- Additional Facilities to visually impaired customers
Additional Facilities shall also be extended to the visually impaired customers, as like facilities provided to sick/old/incapacitated persons for operations 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.
- Door Step Banking to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age ,differently abled persons or infirm persons.