Money & Banking

PMC Bank depositors seek access to funds, urge PM to intervene to revive lender

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on July 30, 2020 Published on July 30, 2020

Depositors of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank protest outside the RBI headquarters in Mumbai, demanding the return of their entire money and revival of the bank. Photo: Vivek Bendre/The Hindu

The clock is ticking on the reconstruction/revival/ merger of scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in the backdrop of close to 40 depositors, mostly senior citizens, losing their lives ever since it was put under directions by the Reserve Bank of India in September 2019.

The PMC Depositors’ Forum has made a plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should intervene to ensure that they can get back their hard-earned money.

The forum emphasised that depositors are undergoing a lot of tribulations amid the pandemic. Depositors, especially senior citizens, are unable to make ends meet as all their life-savings is locked-up in the bank.

“The depositors are losing their patience and mental balance. In fact, our bank has been robbed by scamsters (including the promoters of a real estate company). What is the depositors fault in this?” said Chander Purswani, President of the PMC Depositors Forum, in a letter to the PM.

The deposit withdrawal cap of only ₹1 lakh per depositor for the entire 15-month period (from the close of business on September 23, 2019, up to December 22, 2020) has made matters worse, as depositors are finding it is difficult to meet expenses on ₹6,667 a month when the prices of essential commodities have gone up.

Referring to the Economic Offences Wing attaching the real estate company promoters’ properties (aggregating ₹3,200 crore), which was mortgaged with the bank, and the Enforcement Directorate seizing overall properties aggregating ₹11,000 crore, the forum said the authorities should expedite the recovery process so that the bank can recover the fraud/scam amount of ₹4,355 crore.

The forum had earlier appealed to the RBI Governor and Finance Minister regarding the urgency to resolve the PMC Bank crisis.

Besides ordinary depositors, Gurdwaras, schools, housing societies, and other urban co-operative banks, the cash of the central bank’s two employees’ co-operative credit societies are stuck in the bank.

The forum had earlier suggested to the RBI that the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation could temporarily infuse funds into PMC Bank to revive it.

Earlier this month. Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the Reserve Bank is engaged with all stakeholders to find out a workable solution for PMC Bank as losses are very high, eroding deposits by more than 50 per cent.

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Published on July 30, 2020
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