Money & Banking

Covid-19: Customers caught between govt advisory and the bank over KYC verification

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on August 30, 2020

Officals claim srtting KYC target in the midst of a pandemic is asking for “too much”; say that with a skeleton staff the job can be deferred for now

When Chinnaswamy (name changed) received a letter from his bank asking him to appear in person and submit identity proof for KYC verification, the septuagenarian was at a loss. A retired school teacher and disciplinarian, Chinnaswamy felt that every citizen should respect the government’s advisory and desist venturing out of their homes unnecessarily.

“Could this not be done over a video call? Can’t the copies of Aadhar and the front page of the passbook be sent by post? Why should the bank insist that I submit the identity proof in person? Even senior citizens are not spared, I think” he said, sharing a copy of the communication from the bank.

Chinnaswamy is not alone; a few others also conceded that they had received similar letters from the bank.

When contacted, an official of a public sector bank said: “Some banks are insisting, while there are many others that do the verification over a video call and follow it up by requesting the customer to send a scanned copy of the document over phone or a xerox by post.”

“While setting business targets is not new, assigning KYC targets during times such as the present “is asking too much”, the official said, on the condition of anonymity: “The staff are over-burdened and under pressure as most branches are operating only with 50 per cent staff strength, but forced to do jobs that can be deferred for now.”

“As it is, customers are furious because only a limited number of people are permitted inside the branch at any point in time. After waiting in a queue, they are let into the branch after registering details such as their name, mobile number and temperature check. While we cannot compromise on the safety of both – the customer and bank staff, asking senior citizens to walk in to submit such details is quite unfair,” the official said.

Coimbatore Consumer Cause has taken up the issue with the RBI and the Government.

Alleging banks of being insensitive to government advisory, K Kathirmathiyon, secretary, CCC said: “Public transport is off the road in many states; even if available, such seniors would be at high risk.”

With skeletal staff, and rising requests from the public for various services such as updation of passbook, request for cheque book, facilitation of Internet banking services, withdrawal of cash in bulk, loan enquiry and the like, bank staff say that they are finding it extremely difficult to handle too many tasks.

Published on August 30, 2020

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