As a Safe ePayments Motivator, the following are the most important aspects of the ‘First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2014-15’.
- To enlarge the Banking Correspondent (BC) base, the inclusion of new entities, as well as a relaxation of existing distance restrictions, is being considered, enlargement of catchment area of the Business Correspondents (BCs), including through possible inclusion of new entities as BCs, are under examination. To overcome the challenge of cash management of BCs which is impeding the scaling up of the BC model, the Reserve Bank will collate best practices and issue a fresh set of guidelines to commercial banks.
- A number of measures to protect consumers are being envisaged. For example, Banks should not levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in ordinary savings bank account and inoperative accounts, but instead curtail the services accorded those accounts until the balance is restored.
- Measures have been taken to expand banking services to the financially excluded sections of society with the appropriate application of technology. The GIRO Advisory Group (GAG) has recommended a tiered structure approach for a centralised bill payment system that will enable inter-operability viz., (a) Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) and (b) Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs). The recommendations of the GAG report are under examination.
- A Technical Committee (Chairman: Shri B. Sambamurthy) set up to examine the challenges being faced by banks in taking mobile banking forward for achieving financial inclusion submitted its report in January 2014. This was placed in the public domain for feedback. The recommendations of the Committee will be examined closely, and plans for the way forward will be discussed with stakeholders.
- Consumer protection is an integral aspect of financial inclusion. The Reserve Bank proposes to frame comprehensive consumer protection regulations based on domestic experience and global best practices.
- In the interest of their consumers, banks should consider allowing their borrowers the possibility of prepaying floating rate term loans without any penalty.
- Banks should also not take undue advantage of customer difficulty or inattention. Instead of levying penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in ordinary savings bank accounts, banks should limit services available on such accounts to those available to Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts and restore the services when the balances improve to the minimum required level.
- Banks should not levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances in any inoperative account.
- Banks should also limit the liability of customers in electronic banking transactions in cases where banks are not able to prove customer negligence.