Friday, August 20, 2010

South Indian Bank launches ‘SIB Flash’ remittance service for NRIs

South based lender, South Indian Bank (SIB) has launched 'SIB Flash', a real-time remittance service with the UAE Exchange Centre for its NRI customers.

Through this service the NRIs will be able to remit funds instantaneously into the beneficiary accounts with SIB through the Exchange's online banking service.

SIB Managing Director V.A. Joseph said, “This is a secure way of transferring funds swiftly and easily using state of the art system which will help thousands of our valued NRI clients.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Police arrested college girl for encashing fake bank draft in Habra

The Central Bank of India bank manager posted in branch at Habra, instinct has helped Kolkata police to get to know about money laundering, which can be a new method. The police have arrested the first suspect a college girl for trying to encash a fake draft of over Rs5 lakh.

The girl named Khadija Khatun, a second-year student of Chaitanya College, Barasat had gone to bank branch at Habra a few days ago to deposit a draft of Rs507,350. The manager got suspicious when his bank official informed about the high value draft thus he did a quick check of her profile. He found, Khajida, who hails from Kashipur in Habra belong to a family of modest means. So, he checked the authenticity of the bank draft thoroughly. The draft was fake. He immediately informed police. On Monday when girl came to bank to withdraw cash police arrested her.

At the time of interrogation, she told police that she received the draft by post sent anonymously. She said she also got a call from this man a few days ago, who told her to get it encashed. But police is not relying on Khajida’s claims. She is being suspected to be a part of a racket of duping banks with fake drafts and cheques. Police is checking her cellphone records to try and trace the number from which she claimed to have received the phone call from the man. Khadija is now in police custody.
An officer of North 24-Parganas police said, "She was produced in Barasat court on Tuesday. We hope to get some useful information from her interrogation."

Friday, August 6, 2010

IBA tells banks to open branches close to police stations in remote areas

The pressure is increasing on commercial banks to open more branches in unbanked areas as part of financial inclusion but banks are worried about frauds and dacoities as there has been increase in such activities after few of the bank branches have been opened in unbanked areas.

An official of the Indian Bank Association (IBA), the apex industry body of India’s banks said,
“There is a proposal that bank branches should only be opened in government offices or near to police stations,” and added that some banks have asked that state governments should provide extra security in risky areas.

In the last 6 months because of dacoities, thefts and robberies the commercial banks have lost over Rs 1,000 crore, the amount can increase if they were further pushed to provide banking in the remote areas.

A senior finance ministry official said, “Banks will be wary of lending, opening branches in remote areas,” and, added the state governments should ensure that the security is provided to bank branches, especially, in the hinterlands.

However the government and the banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India have show concern over the increase in cases of thefts and dacoities as around 270 cases were reported in the last six months alone.

In view of this RBI has directed its regional directors to hold state-level security committee meetings with the state police officials. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have reported the highest number of dacoities as a result banks have lost about Rs 320 crore.

This allegedly has impact on the government’s drive to deepen financial inclusion, or make financial services available to those relying on traditional sources of credit or savings through physical assets.

On the other hand government want banks to open more branches in the rural areas and is thinking on various options. For instance, it plans to include financial inclusion as criteria for in performance evaluation of state-owned banks and could also make it one of the conditions while giving out new bank licenses.

According to government’s report out of the 129 unbanked blocks in the country 91 are in the North-East Region, and some of these parts have security issues.

“We have to open branches to pursue the government’s agenda but security issues still remains a concern,” said a senior official with an east-based public sector bank.

The public sector banks are suffers as private banks have to still enter into the hinterland in a big way.

State Bank of India, country’s largest bank, has witnessed 62 such cases and lost around Rs 150 crore. In 2009-10, SBI had lost over Rs 400 crore in 117 cases of thefts or dacoities.

There are around 86,777 branches in the country, 32,301 are in rural areas. Thus branches in rural and semi-urban areas constitute 61% of the total bank branches in the country.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Barclays setting up 30 off-site ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi

Barclays, a foreign bank to set up more ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi in order to increase its visibility. The bank is adding 30 off-site ATMs in these cities.
The work of setting up of these new ATMs will start this month. The bank release said the addition of ATMs is a part of its strategy of focusing on the mass affluent customer segment.
At present bank is having 11 off-site ATMs set up across the country and six others at branch locations.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

StanChart launched first mobile ATM in Mumbai

Standard Chartered Bank launched its first mobile ATM in Mumbai to offer better service to its customers.

A bank press release said, through this mobile ATM bank will offer facilities such as cash withdrawal, funds transfer, statement and cheque book requests, mobile and online banking regulation, pre-paid mobile top-up and other such services.

It will also have cheque drop box and a phone banking facility.

Standard Chartered’s Group Executive Director and CEO Asia, Jaspal Bindra, said, “The mobile ATM will give our customers greater convenience, bringing our services at a location closest to them.”

The release said, in the next 6-9 months bank will launch a second mobile ATM either in Mumbai or New Delhi.

Recently bank has also launched 50 Express Banking centers in Mumbai and Delhi, where the customers can perform a range of banking operations independently and securely. At these centers money vending machines have been installed also there are electronic cheque deposit box and a phone banking kiosk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Union Bank and PNB raised BPLR rates

In order to push the existing customers to the new base rate system for loans, banks are increasing their benchmark prime lending rates.

Recently Punjab National bank and Union Bank of India have raised their BPLRs. PNB has raised its rate to 11.75 per cent from 11 per cent with effect from August, while Union Bank has raised the rate to 12.25 per cent from 11.75 per cent with effect from August 4. In the coming months more banks are likely to follow the suit.

One of the reason behind this move is, most probably banks want to account for the rising cost of deposits and to protect their margins. According to some bankers, banks might also want to push existing borrowers to the base-rate linked lending regime by increasing the costs for BPLR-linked borrowers.

However banks have requested the RBI to announce a sunset clause with June 30, 2011 as the deadline for moving all the existing bank loans to the new base rate-linked lending regime.

Another reason may be banks do not want to get involved in litigation if their clients, especially who have taken project loans, at the time of renewal of loans don’t want to move to the base rate linked lending regime from the former BPLR regime. Most of the banks have set their base rates in the range of 7.50-8.50 per cent.

Also, banks don’t want to be burden of administering two benchmark lending rates.

A senior Union Bank of India official said, “In the current scenario of rising interest rates, our deposit costs are increasing. Hence, we have no choice but to realign the BPLR to protect our margins.”

But the public sector bank official cautioned that existing borrowers should not blindly move to base rate system as banks increase BPLRs just because it looks a bit cheaper in comparison to BPLR based-lending, as there are possibilities that banks will also review their base rates as they raise their deposit rates.

Union Bank of India has raised its term deposit rates across different maturities by 25 to 100 basis points with effect from August 4.

For maturities of 1 year bank has raised rates by 25 basis points from 6.50 per cent to 6.75 per cent. While for short-term deposits of 91 days to less than 6 months and 6 months to less than 9 months, banks has raised interest rates from 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent respectively.