In a bid to facilitate seamless banking for all sections of the society, the Reserve Bank of India directed all banks to implement doorstep banking facilities for differently-abled citizens and those above 70 years of age by December this year.
In an official notice to banks, the central bank citing Section 23 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 said "in view of the difficulties faced by senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently abled or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability) including those who are visually impaired, banks are advised to make concerted effort to provide basic banking facilities, such as pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of cash against withdrawal from account, delivery of demand drafts, submission of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents and Life certificate at the premises/ residence of such customers."
Banks were also advised to provide a dedicated counter or a counter which provides priority to senior citizens and people who are differently-abled, including visually impaired persons.
"It has been observed that there are occasions when banks discourage or turn away senior citizens and differently-abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. Notwithstanding the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is imperative to be sensitive to the requirements of senior citizens and differently abled persons," the RBI argued.
With regards to cheque books, the RBI stated that the banks must issue cheque books to customers, whenever a request is received, through a requisition slip which is part of the cheque book issued earlier, with a minimum of 25 cheque leaves every year, if requested, in savings bank account, free of charge. Further, it said banks must not insist on physical presence of any customer including senior citizens and differently abled persons for getting cheque books.
Upon providing a Life Certificate in any branch, including a non-home branch of the pension paying bank, the RBI stated that banks must ensure the same is updated/ uploaded promptly in CBS by the receiving branch itself, to avoid any delay in credit of pension. Further, the circular noted that a fully KYC-compliant account should automatically be converted into a 'Senior Citizen Account' based on the date of birth available in the bank's records.
"Banks are advised to implement these instructions by December 31, 2017 in letter and spirit and give due publicity in their bank branches and website," the central bank stated.