Friday, May 30, 2008
Through this tie up customers will be able to use services like application for issuance or change request of permanent account number (PAN) and tax deduction and collection account number (TAN) and filing returns for tax deduction sources (TDS), tax collection sources (TCS) and various forms.
Y L Madan, executive director, IOB informed that at initial stage the bank will be setting up Alankit helpdesks at twenty branches in the four metros including Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
He added after seeing the customer response the facility will be extended to more branches.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sanjay Nayar, CEO, Citi India said, ``Citi`s commitment to India goes beyond business. We are committed to providing world-class financial products and services that help people improve their lives, businesses grow and communities prosper. The opening of the Akola branch, which is located in an under-banked area of the country, is a reinforcement of this commitment``.
Giving details about the business potential in semi-urban and rural areas, Country Business Manager for Citi India`s Global Consumer Group N. Rajashekaran said, ``While India is witnessing unprecedented levels of economic growth, two-thirds of our population is still unconnected to the formal banking and financial system. Citi believes we can add value and bring our customer-centric model to this segment of the population. Additionally, the Akola branch will help us establish a banking foothold in the natural resource-rich Vidharbha region of Maharashtra``.
Citibank has plans to open three new branches this year and the Akola branch is the first one and the other two, in Nanded (Maharashtra) and Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), will be opened by the third quarter of this year.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This month, police arrested Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid, an information technology (IT) consultant in his early 20s, for posting "offensive" comments on Goggle’s popular social networking site, Orkut.
Vaid, stays in the Delhi suburb of Gurgaon, had posted his views in a forum "I hate Sonia Gandhi". Sonia Gandhi is a national political leader and president of the Congress party that leads the federal government. The police used internet and collected information about Vaid personal information from goggle to trace Vaid after collecting his personal information from Goggle.
Vaid was charged under Section 67 and could have ended up in jail for five years under India's tough IT-Act 2000, which relates to publication of obscene information in electronic content.
As per Indian law, especially section 292 of the Indian penal code, connected to freedom of expression, criticisms are permit able as long as they are done in a civil manner. However, action can be taken against obscenities, communal messages and sacrilege; charges also open to abuse and wide subjective interpretation.
Goggle spokesperson while disproving opinion in the Vaid case, that passing on user information is a raid of privacy said while the company supports free expression of its customers and is committed to protecting user privacy, it complies with local laws and valid legal process.
However worldwide especially in China and India, it is observed that Internet companies have chosen to abide by domestic laws in order not to invite the rage of the local government and lose business.
Yahoo was criticized for helping the Chinese government to track down pro-democracy protestors. Yahoo's chief executive Jerry Yang has reportedly given evidence to the US Congress that his company helped in the arrest of a Chinese journalist. "To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law," Yang has been quoted as saying.
In fact, in this context, observers say that Internet users should be aware of the limits of the medium as a public forum of expression, or they might end up doing something illegal, unknowingly.
Popular social networking websites frequently visited by millions of young Indians include Facebook, MySpace, Ibibo, BigAdda and Sulekha.
Experts pronounce that anonymity is not a cover that any online person should assume, especially known the harsh Indian laws that permit the police to arrest anyone and obliging Internet service providers (ISPs) willing to hand over Internet protocol addresses and other data.
During the interrogation by the police, Vaid alleged that he was unaware that he could end up in jail for posting material from the relative obscurity of his office computer.
Vaid's case trails back the unfortunate instance of another young Bangalore techie, Lakshmana Kailash. Last August Pune police arrested Kailash for posting insulting images of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a warrior king of Maharashtra, which resulted in the eruption of riots. As a result Kailash ended up spending over 12 weeks in jail.
Though it turned out, the information provided by ISP Airtel to the police in Pune was incorrect and Kailash was found to be innocent. Justifiably very angry, Kailash has decided to sue Airtel and the police.
A couple of years back the Gujarat police had arrested another young professional, Omar Farooque, in Delhi who had sent hate mail to Gujarat chief minister Narender Modi. However authorities realized timely that the said mail was not serious and released Omar.
In 2004, police arrested the chief executive officer of eBay India, Avnish Bajaj, when his website hosted a sex video of two Delhi-based school kids that was being sold online.
While the arrest of Bajaj raised a uproar for targeting the wrong person, security agencies have built a strong case for increased scrutiny of activities on mobile phones and the Internet, especially at cyber cafes.
Currently the Indian government and mobile service providers are embroiled in a tussle over third-party access to encrypted messages in BlackBerry cellular services. While security agencies insist that all cyber cafe owners should maintain a record of user identities.
Indian authorities, including the courts, are working hard to crack down on cyber crime, particularly cyber pornography and online break-ins of bank and credit card accounts, referred as "phising".
This year, a court in the southern Indian city of Chennai had given a life imprisonment to a surgeon in a case relating to pornography. The accused doctor had shot obscene pictures of his women patients and uploaded them on the Internet.
In another incidence, Mumbai police arrested a gang involved in "phising" at least 25 bank accounts and other credit card frauds. In the past the back-end employees based in India have short-changed the international online customers of multinational banks such as HSBC and Citibank.
New Delhi is also preparing a draft of new IT Act which will further strengthen cyber security norms, intellectual property protection and combat piracy. There is a strong need for this as India has been ranked third, after China and the US, in online frauds by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a pan-industrial enforcement association that takes on e-fraud and identity theft. A survey was done by analysts in which it was highlighted that security and privacy are among the biggest fears among companies outsourcing business to India.
The business-returns are high, particular increased online commercial transactions that cover India's multi-billion dollar software and outsourcing sectors.
Software industry-body the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NAASCOM) is starting a nation-wide training program for police officers at specially constituted cyber labs. Over 5,000 officers have been trained to take on cyber crimes in major cities Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. The program will be implemented in Delhi and Kolkata.
NAASCOM has also been approaching tech employees to sign up for the national skills registry to build an identity and profile database. So far 250,000 employees have been registered.
The main concern is the involvement of educated Indians, especially doctors, engineers and techies in back-end support for terror activities via networked computers.
In the past couple of years at least 10 highly educated Indian youth have been arrested for involvement in terror plots that have included the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and for a London terror plot and attack on Glasgow airport.
Software hub Bangalore has emerged as the favorite city for these unusual professionals for carrying out their operations given the large tech population in the city.
In fact there is a fine balance between managing the Internet as a free forum and at the same time keeping a check on the increasing misuse of the medium without snuffing it out.
On May 14, Corporation Bank, Hyderaguda branch, manager S Shastri along with security guard Chakravarthi and attender Prakash went to Corporation Bank’s branch in Chittoor to collect Rs 60 lakh excess cash from there.
As usual the tri went to Chittoor in a private vehicle hired by the bank since last three years, with the regular driver, Mahboob Pasha of Syed Nagar, Banjara Hills.
As per the reports of the police, the Hyderabad branch officials started back from Chittoor on May 15 with Rs 60 lakh cash packed in two steel chests.
As it got late, the bank officials decided to stop in Kurnool on May 15 and deposited the money at Corporation Bank in Kurnool.
"The bank staff shifted one box into the bank and the driver, who was sitting in the jeep, noticed that one side of the cash chest was not locked. He slightly lifted the chest door and removed a Rs 500 note bundle worth Rs 5 lakh," Narayanguda inspector of police G Jogaiah said.
The officials did not had knowledge of theft has been carried out they shifted the second cash chest into the bank and collected the same from there the next day and left for Hyderabad.
"While counting the cash at the Hyderguda branch, they realised that Rs 5 lakh was missing. The bank manager lodged a complaint at the police station on May 16," Jogaiah said.
Police interrogated the officials and the driver. On Tuesday morning police arrested driver Mahboob Pasha from his house at Syed Nagar in Banjara Hills and recovered the stolen amount from his house.
After taking remand from the court he has been kept in the judicial custody.
Monday, May 26, 2008
In addition to this in financial year 2008-2009 bank will be increasing advances by 45% in Gujarat in financial year 2008-2009.
In March Dena bank's total advances were at Rs 23,381 crore, in the current financial year bank has plans to increase by 22% to be around Rs 28,525 crore.
PL Gairola chairman and managing director of Dena Bank stated that the advances will be allocated to different segments, 20% will be given to retail segment, 17% SME and 14.5% in agriculture sector. "We are also into micro advances but right now the proportion is not fixed."
Core banking project of Dena Bank's is going full strangle. To connect all branches under core banking it is investing Rs 304 crore in addition this year, bank will be diverting 400 branches under the project which is to be completed in 2010.
General Manager of Dena Bank, TR Chawla told the newsmen in FY 08, the bank's total advances were Rs 4,568 crore in Gujarat, which the bank aims to increase by 45%.
"Bank will put in Rs 1,580 crore in indirect agriculture loan, Rs 340 crore for direct agriculture loan and Rs 637 crore for SME industries in Gujarat."
In other priority sector like education bank will be giving Rs 1050 crore in Gujarat.
Dena Bank has signed an MoU with Microfinance Saving Support Foundation for introducing 'Zero Balance Accounts' as it has plans to collaborate with Gujarat Green Revolution Co Ltd for drip irrigation.
Gairola informed bank also plans to tie-up with postal department in Gujarat to cover more customers. The pilot project for the same is already running in Maharashtra's Appola and Amravarti districts.
In financial year 2007-08, the bank's total deposits rose to Rs 33,943 crore, up by 22.58% over the previous year. Net profit increased by 78.50% to touch Rs 359.79 crore, while net NPA ratio was down by 105 points to be at 0.94%.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have become important source for banking transactions not only in India but all over the world. More and more banks are installing ATMs to increase their reach. Though ATMs provide variety of banking transactions for customers but they are mainly being used for cash withdrawal and balance inquiry.
Earlier on December 23, 2007, the Reserve Bank of India had released an Approach Paper, the framework on ATM usage charges have been formulated by the central bank. This draft approach paper had come as a shock for major banks like SBI, ICICI bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank who have spent a huge amount on building huge ATM networks.
In response to the approach paper the big banks had given suggestion to cap the number of free cash withdrawals every month. The central bank felt that such a cap was not desirable and not practical so it rejected the plea.
RBI had placed the Approach Paper on its website for public opinion. After analyzing the public comments the central bank on 10th March, 2008 issued a notification "Customer charges for use of ATMs for cash withdrawal and balance enquiry".
According to this notification the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has barred banks from charging any fees for customers using their own banks' ATMs and cut charges on withdrawal from third-party ATMs to Rs 20 per transaction.
According to notification issued:
- Own ATMs for any purpose will be free of charge
- Other banks’ ATMs for balance enquires will be free of charge
- Use of other banks’ ATMS for cash withdrawals will be free from April 1, 2009
Subject to levy of following charges during the transition period:
- No Bank shall increase the charges prevailing as on December 23, 2007.
- Banks, which are charging more than Rs 20 per transaction, shall reduce the charges to Rs 20 per transaction by March 31, 2008.
- The charge of Rs 20 indicated will be all inclusive and no other charges will be levied to the customers under any other head irrespective of the amount of withdrawal.
RBI said, "The (ATM) charges levied on the customers vary from bank to bank and also vary according to the ATM network that is used for the transaction. Consequently, a customer is not aware, before hand, of the charges that will be levied for a particular ATM transaction while using an ATM of another bank. This generally discourages the customer from using the ATMs of other banks. It is, therefore, essential to ensure greater transparency."
According to RBI India has 32,342 ATMs as of December 31, 2007. The RBI has not got into the details of how the costs will be shared. It has given the banks free hand to decide amongst themselves a middle path where banks are not completely discouraged from installing new ATMs and yet banks without any network are not get cheated.
RBI in its notification further stated that in countries such as UK, Germany and France, bank customers have access to all ATMs in the country, free of charge except when cash is withdrawn from white label ATMs or from ATMs managed by non-bank entities.There is also a move, internationally, to regulate the fee structure by the regulator from the public policy angle. The ideal situation is that a customer should be able to access any ATM installed in the country free of charge through an equitable cooperative initiative by banks.
The central bank has clarified that these guidelines do not apply to cash withdrawal with the use of credit cards and for cash withdrawal in an ATM located abroad.
Corporation Bank, a public sector bank, is going to open its ATM at Skanda Krupa Building, Ground Floor, Main Road, Subramanya on April 08, 2008. The ATM is to be inaugurated by Sri Sri Vidya Prasanna Thirtha Swamiji of Subramanya Mutt.
The guest of Honour for the occasion will be Sri T. Sham Bhatt, IAS, Commissioner, Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Department, Banglore and in charge of the function will be in the hands of Shri B. R. Bhat, General Manager of the bank.
The bank will be having 958 ATMs after the opening of this new ATM at Subramanya.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
According to bank sources the existing customers of the bank’s mobile-banking service can sign up for the service, whereas new customers will automatically get registered for the service when they opt for mobile-banking services.
Through mobile payment service the users will be able to make utility bill-payments as well as book airline and movie-tickets through their mobile phones. Previously PayMate has a tie up with LIC and Corporation Bank to enable their customers to pay insurance premia via the mobile phone.
Ajay Adiseshann, managing director and founder, PayMate informed that company is having talks with SBI for tie up, to play a part in their mobile-banking offering.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Basically wallet phone concept was introduced by the Japanese telecommunication major NTT-DoCoMo way back in 2004. The device has the features of a cell phone and credit card with the help of a multi-application built-in smart card. All the financial transactions involving ‘debt and credit’ cards can be operated wirelessly through your mobile.
The smart card uses the prepaid concept and can be charged for the payment from the store where a reader is installed.
In India, mobile wallet will have a combination of a smart card as well as the power of the SMS. So in the coming years, if you want to eat out, buy movie tickets, book a flight, shop, all you would need to do is send an SMS!
In 2005 Airtel launched a mobile wallet service and many more banks are following the line and partnering with mobile payment providers to offer the service. At present in India the payment players are mChek, Obopay and PayMate. Transaction is in encrypted text message format. You need to have a GPRS enabled phone, which has a JAVA based download able application platform and a credit or debit card account with one of the partner banks. The phone will have the details of the owner’s credit and the application will initiate a payment or transaction securely after PIN verification. The transaction will take place between the mobile phones and backend servers using GRPS thus eliminating security breaches.
The Reserve Bank of India is formulating the regulatory guidelines for mobile payments to ensure that the entire process is secure. The final draft is expected by June 2008.
Working of Mobile Wallets:
With mobile wallet you do not need to carry your heavy conventional wallet everywhere as all your card information will be stored in the phone. Only your mobile SIM card needs to be replaced with a software- enabled smart card from a service provider like mCheque. For instance, if you purchase a smart outfit from an outlet which is "MW equipped”, the retailer will use a special phone to send a message to your mobile indicating the amount you have to pay. On confirming your purchase with your unique four digit password, a confirmation SMS will be sent to you as well as the retailer and your purchase will become legitimate. You only pay for the SMS you send while validating the transaction. The entire process is secure and takes just about a minute. Above all, an item costing as low as fifty rupees can be yours with this technology.
Recently Bharti Airtel has tied-up with ICICI Bank and Visa Card, launched it’s mChq service in Delhi and Mumbai. Currently there are very few locations which accept this service as a mode of payment.
It is believed the mobile wallet will have to face the challenges of scalability, reliability, and cost to effectively cost to effectively monopolize the Indian market.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Banks though less recognized option from a traditional source sell home loan defaulter’s property usually at a low price tag than market price. Experts say the public and private sector banks sell home-loan defaulters’ property usually at a price tag much lower than market price. According to banks estimation there are several hundred houses in the market for the taking.
Recently Ganguly, (name changed) has struck a good deal. She has bought a house at less than the market rate, auctioned by a nationalized bank which was taken over by the bank as a part of a loan recovery process. She said she has strike a `fair deal’ considering that the resale value of the property, after renovation and paying off over dues, was 25 per cent more than her total expenses.
Recently the property prices had soared making unaffordable for many home-buyers with this new option problem of buying a house of many people especially the middle class, can get solved.
“It is safer to buy an old house from a bank since they verify the title deeds before mortgaging the property,” says R. L. Auddy, Solicitor and Advocate, Sanderson and Morgans.
Commenting on this Abhijit Das, Regional Director, JLL Meghraj, said for the sale of old houses there is still no organized market (in India), but the numbers on sale will gradually increase as the real-estate market matures and because of price differentiation as compared to new houses. Moreover the sale of such property by banks can be a safe source, buyers should still do title research.
When bank has seized the property from a defaulter a valuation of the property is conducted through an independent chartered surveyor. “We generally compute two values — a market value and a distress sale value. The minimum bidding price or the reserve price is fixed at the distress price level.
According to D.M. Mishra, Senior Manager, Law and Recovery, Punjab National Bank however, in the auction, the price can go up to any extent depending upon the condition and location of the house.” But the prices are generally 10-20 per cent less as compared to ongoing market price.
“Distress selling causes the price to be on the lower side,” a United Bank official says. The condition of the house, however, should play an important role in evaluating the price, Rajiva, Chief Law Officer and General Manager, Allahabad Bank, says.
A property dealer advice people that they should calculate the maintenance and renovation costs over and above the price beforehand. “There are other expenses involved as well. Since the properties are sold on an ‘as is where is basis’, they involve some overdue payments pending with the municipality, tax department, in co-operative installments and even in electricity bills,” he says.
Not many people know about the auction of houses done by banks then how can people come to know when these houses are put on sale? As per the sources of the banks they periodically advertise in newspapers. “We have currently 200 houses and flats on sale in Kolkata,” Mishra of PNB says. A United Bank official says “residential houses sold through the Sarfaesi Act account for 30 per cent of the total default property, the rest being industrial assets. Of the total 3,800 NPAs where Sarfaesi has been enacted, there are currently 500-600 residential houses.”
The advocate, Auddy, stresses that one should counter check various technical and legal aspects on a personal basis before buying an old house. “Possession record in title is of utmost concern here. One should investigate the title from the documents and conduct necessary searches in registry offices, preferably for the past 30 years and in local courts, preferably for 13 years. One should also verify municipal records to find out whether tax is outstanding and whether names of past owners is mutated to ensure that possession of the property remains with the owner and the same is being delivered by the bank to the prospective buyer,” he advises.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Sooner it will be having separate cell for corporate, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), retail (both resource and retail products) and agriculture credit.
"We have decided to have separate verticals for the corporate, SME, retail and agriculture credit for the overall business growth," said L M V Rao, general manager, Union Bank of India.
Rao told the press the bank has identified 21 branches of the bank for high-value corporate credit. These branches will be in contact directly with the head office for faster decision making and disbursal of credit.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
According to figures available through travel industry the online dispersal of travel industry is around 11 per cent, and most of the passengers do not trust the internet for booking air tickets via credit/debit card and like to pay in cash.
After the opening of this option they need not have to take the trouble of visiting their travel agent or the airline counter to pay the money and collect their tickets. Various online travel portals like Yatra and Clear My Trip have come up with the COD option.
Noel Swain, vice president (marketing), Clear My Trip (CMT) said, “We conducted a survey and found out that a small segment of travelers is not able to make online payments. Either they hesitate to use the net or do not have credit limits in case of booking international tickets or hotels.” He said CMT will be launching a COD option for international bookings in the month of June. According to CMT, about 3 to 5 per cent of the total online users prefer this option.
Thus, those using the portal can click on the COD option and get their tickets booked. A CMT agent will deliver them the tickets at their doorstep and collect cash from them. “This option is also available for those who do not have much credit limit and want to make partial payment in cash,” says Swain.
In fact Yatra has launched a similar service and it is available for both domestic and international bookings. The customer can just send an SMS to 2622 and a customer executive will call to take the details. The ticket will be delivered to him by an agent wherever he is and he can pay in cash to the executive. “The customer can call us and verify the identity of the agent to wade away fears of being duped,” says an official from Yatra.
Yatra is giving COD facility for both air tickets and online bookings. It has also started a scheme whereby the passenger will be reimbursed Rs200 in case of flight delays over 20 minutes.
A transaction for Rs 62,000 (1,500 US dollars) has been done on ‘his’ card in Angkor Vat (Cambodia), and the he had never in life had visited there and he has never given his card to anybody.
The Barclays Bank, the card issuing bank after pressure and the case appearing in the news, agreed to reverse the transaction, but that too only after it appeared in the press the bank was forced to do something about the matter. Till then, the bank had was not paying attention to the complaints of the customer and had been bounced from one executive to another, at the new fangled call centers with their polite, monotonous, robotic answers.
It is being considered that the card in question had been duplicated and the computer only recognized the ‘card number’, which seemed to be the same as the one on the original owner’s card.
Some time back, a city resident was charged for buying a card-duplicating machine through internet. The gang then got in a friendship with a waiter in a Juhu hotel, who would swipe credit cards on this machine. Then the data was downloaded on to a computer, the owner’s details obtained and fraudulent cards obtained to make transactions. In card fraud phraseology this is known as Counterfeit Card Fraud or skimming. In this case, the city police was able to take an action and caught the fraudsters.
On doing a search on google it has been discovered that the credit and debit card frauds seem to rise every year. Cyber-savvy criminals are getting innovative and are finding new ways to duplicate cards.
Amongst Internet frauds (the classic one is the e-mail fraud, where e-mails appear usually from Nigeria asking people to reveal their bank details and send money) and mobile phone crimes, calls made from duplicated SIM cards and cell phones used in terrorism, including those used to detonate bombs, criminals have shown that they can easily keep up, outdo and use evolving technology. These frauds are not innovation of empty minds but a tech-savvy one that can be the devil’s workshop. It makes one desire for a world, where the telephone was a great instrument with its receiver trailing on a wire; the ‘net’ is something linked with fishing and plastic meant plastic buckets in bathrooms and plastic smiles at swish parties, no plastic money. The age of innocence may not have been spotless, but it is less complicated than the age of convenience.