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finance | IST

On-site supervision and central bank's jurisdiction, suggests RBI employees' body in wake PMC Bank scam

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All cooperative banks in the country should be brought under onsite supervision and the Reserve Bank of India’s jurisdiction in order to protect customers from the kind of scams that has plagued Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA) on Tuesday suggested.

All cooperative banks in the country should be brought under onsite supervision and the Reserve Bank of India’s jurisdiction in order to protect customers from the kind of scams that has plagued Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA) on Tuesday suggested.
The Mumbai-based cooperative bank was put under regulatory restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last month following suspicion of widespread corruption in its functioning. It subsequently came to light the bank was saddled with non-performing assets (NPAs), including unsustainable exposure to HDIL, a real estate development company, in violation of the RBI norms.
RBI initially restricted withdrawal limit for account holders to a mere Rs 1,000 per month before revising it to Rs 10,000 and later to Rs 25,000 before another revision on Monday put the limit to Rs 40,000. However, the limitations have caused account holders a lot of heartburn.
In the wake of the PMC scam and in a bid to protect customers of cooperative banks, the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association has suggested a couple of measures that include onsite supervision and sole jurisdiction of the RBI in their functioning.
“All co-operative banks, particularly their head offices, should be brought under regular onsite supervision by RBI instead of the ‘offsite surveillance’ as at present which cannot detect fraudulent reporting which are far away from ground realities,” AIRBEA’s letter said.
“The dual jurisdiction of Registrar of Co-operative Societies of States and RBI over co-operative banks should end. It creates unwarranted dichotomy and gives scope for mismanagement and malfeasance. They should come exclusively under RBI jurisdiction like banks,” it added.
The letter noted that the association had in the 1990s suggested cooperative banks being brought under RBI’s supervision during the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank scam but their advice was not heeded.
AIRBEA went on to emphasise its objection to the rumoured resurrection of the FRDI (Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance) Bill, saying it would put bank depositors’ money at risk.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance during its first five-year tenure attempted to pass the FRDI Bill but it was eventually dropped following widespread public outcry. The opposition to the Bill came owing to the fact that savings of ordinary bank depositors could be used to bail out failing banks.