FM Nirmala Sitharaman says fraudulent accounts will not be spared; calls for local language speaking staff in branches

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Money due from all fraudulent accounts will be pursued and no account will be left without going to court, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her address to bankers at the annual general meeting of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

The minister also asked banks to not hire people for customer facing jobs to those who cannot speak the local language.

“Money has been recovered from fraudulent accounts that were almost given up. I want to say that no fraudulent account will be left without going to court. Fraudsters have no place in this country and they will not be allowed to take banks for a ride. We will pursure every rupee of and ensure it comes back to bank accounts,” Sitharaman said.

She pulled up banks for not having enough staff which speak the local language in branches.
“Staff cannot expect all to speak hindi. I want to speak in a strong language in this. We cannot
to have staff who do not speak the local language. Banks cannot ask people who do not speak hindi to go away. You should review people posted at the branch level and keep people who cannot speak the local language at the back end. It underlines the importance of diversity of the country. It shows inclusivity to both your staff and customers,” she said.

Banks are crucial in the government’s vision to make India a developed nation by 2047 and have to step up credit when spending capacity is improving.

“All the issues that you were facing with regards to CVC (Central Vigilance Commission), CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) have been addressed. You are now in a better position. I want you to be more effective and proactive and convey to the customers that you are ready for them,” Sitharaman said.

Earlier addressing bankers department of financial services secretary Sanjay Malhotra said banks have to step up their credit to industry and medium and small enterprises (MSME) to revive investments in the economy.
“Credit to industry has declined over the years. Share of bank credit to industry is down to 26% from 42% in the last ten years. MSME credit is also important because the sector makes up 1/3rd of the economy and only has a 16% share in credit,” Malhotra said.

He also asked private sector banks to step up their contribution to central government schemes like Jan Dhan accounts, PMJDY and Atal Pension Yojana in which their contribution is only between 3% to 7%.

Finance minister Sitharaman said bank systems have to communicate with each other while ensuring that their systems are protected against hacking or cyber threats.

“IBA should make sure systems of all banks talk to each other just like the account aggregator (AA) system which allows institutions to talk to each other with the explicit consent of the customer,” she said.

AA is an RBI-regulated non-banking financial company (NBFC) that facilitates collection and use of financial information of customers from financial institutions after taking customer consent. The AA system is expected to eliminate dublicacies and quicken financial transactions by sharing information among different financial intermediaries.

Source: Economic Times

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