Money & Banking

Govt’s focus on resolution, and not loan recovery, is retrograde: AIBEA

Our Bureau Coimbatore | Updated on December 15, 2019

“Banks should concentrate on loan recovery, but the Government is stressing resolution. This is a retrograde step. The government should give up this route, institute fast-track criminal courts and nab wilful defaulters,” said CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).

Emphasising the need to redefine and declare wilful loan defaulters as “criminal offenders” he said “ironically, the Government which talks of peoples’ welfare is today shifting the entire burden of bad loans to the common banking public. ATMs were introduced as a convenience facility, and so were cards and digital platform; but today charges are being levied for use of these services.”

“People were lured to save money in banks, were virtually compelled to open accounts. Now, they are charged for not maintaining minimum balance.”

To a query on Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) and Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), he said “neither of them is preferred as banks had to take the onus of responsibility to sell. But with NCLT, the Courts take the decision, sparing bankers of vigilance and suspicion.

“While it (NCLT) was originally envisaged to expedite recovery and help banks recover legitimate dues, it has proved to be otherwise. The government should give up this route and institute fast-track criminal courts. The government had stated in Parliament that there were 9,632 cases of wilful defaulters with bad loans amounting to ₹1.10 lakh crore.

Having said that Venkatachalam acknowledged the RBI’s move on publishing the list of wilful defaulters. “It has been a long-standing demand of AIBEA. It must become a law and the RBI should keep updating the list, publish the list of wilful defaulters at least once in six months.”

He was in the city to announce the launch of a national campaign against banking reforms.

This campaign is part of a year-long programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bank Nationalisation, the AIBEA secretary told BusinessLine, voicing concern over rising bad loans, bank mergers, closure of branches and ATMs, levy of service charges and the hardships faced by the common public.

Published on December 15, 2019

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