Sunday, November 26, 2023

Who owns my Bank account?

 After I opened my first bank account in 1976, I was happy and relieved that I have created a safe place for parking my savings and also deposited my then precious savings of Rs 5/- as opening cash ! Till recently I was peaceful and happy under the impression that my bank account is completely in my control under the watchful eyes of the bank and that no one else can operate the same.

But the thoughts were slightly rattled when the banks started diversifying their interest and focus away from personal banking and debited arbitrarily an amount, though small, from all bank accounts, without any explicit permission from or notice to the customers. Having blatantly trespassed into the bank accounts of the ignorant customers, banks swam through crores of rupees through the sheer number of accounts they could wade into. It was a different matter that those handful of customers who raised a flag were initially ignored and then the unauthorized debit silently reversed after they approached the Ombudsman was neither reported nor noticed by the hapless public, as it was in an era prior to digital and electronic reach.

Almost at the same time or slightly before when I was driving a team creating a banking product for customers across the globe on behalf of an IT major, I raised an eyebrow on the flow of credits into an account but then as a typical customer I failed to follow up on this potential quicksand.

Sometime back, a private bank customer was inadvertently credited with a huge amount, which he also withdrew and the bank had a tough time recovering the lost money and its face.

More recently UCO bank was reported to have credited some of their Kolkata based customers with amount totaling a whooping 820 crores, reportedly due to a 'technical glitch' , majority(!)  of which are reported to be recovered  {Read report here: }

The news report has also added that ' . . .  caused major apprehension about the security of their accounts and what the customers should do to prevent such activities...' 

This brings us to a question that has so far been treated as irrelevant "Does the bank has the authority to not only debit but also credit my account without my consent" ?

In case of periodical credits like deposits interest, the customer normally authorizes the same through the deposit opening formalities. 

In case of debits like safe deposit locker rent and other charges like minimum balance too customer consent is obtained, but what about other transactions from any source , be it from within or outside the bank?

Does not the bank , as the guardian of our account, hold the responsibility of preventing unauthorized transactions from anyone ? 

Though fictional, the case of a miscreant pumping credits into his adversary's account, calling the attention of tax authorities and bringing the innocent account holder's name into bad reputation , as detailed in Sydney Sheldon's fiction 'If Tomorrow Comes' comes immediately to my mind. With our bank accounts being digitally naked and exposed in the present era where our details are strewn across the web, it is not difficult for one to find the account number of anyone and do this just to tar the image of the receiver, who could be blissfully ignorant of the credits, atleast for some time !

But like the fence chewing the crop, how to prevent my own bank making unauthorized transactions into my account, is the question! If both bank and I are going to transact then who is the owner of 'my' account!

Now that many checks and balances are being provided to the customer to prevent unauthorized debits, can the customer also be allowed to set a 'Credit Transaction Limit', which shall be required even for the banks to make such credits ? Of course same technology could be used to obtain permission for standard transaction like periodical interest to deposit & savings account, locker rent, transactions charges etc.,

Like the saying of  'your freedom ends at the tip of my nose', where does the bank's freedom to access the customers' account ends?

Is it time for the Digital Banking stalwarts in banks to put on their thinking caps along with their legal counterparts and think differently? 

Better it is done early , I feel,  before they stare at some more complex scenarios aided by the emerging cybercrimes cornering them .

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Avoiding Bank visits

It is well known that post computerization in the1980s, human resources at bank branches have been dwindling much to the chagrin of the branch heads. Branches which were once buzzing with more staff than the customers at a time are now looking at the tables turned with fewer staff  busily attending to the varied needs of waiting customers giving a real meaning to the single window concept. 

The disgruntled voices from public are also on the rise, about the services or the lack of it from the bank staff. It is not uncommon to hear about rude responses to innocent queries and non-compliance of even routine requests after many days!

Bankmen on the other hand are peeved about steadily decreasing staff strength as even the replacements for retirees (which is on the rise) are not being done regularly have almost stopped and they are forced to take up even non-banking activities when they are struggling to meet the routine jobs! It is a common sight in many branches to see officers coming out of cash cabins and staff are suffocating with rising expectations, we are also told.

Customer whining is more pronounced in the urban and metros due to the increased expectation flowing out of literacy and shorter fuse, while the ones in rural are more patient and tolerant, not grudging to gnaw into their sedentary life to repeat a walk to the bank few days later.  

Rumor mills of a 5 day week for banks instead of the present 6 days is also doing rounds though premiere bodies speaking for the business community, have voiced concerns against the move.  

While the debate rages on, as a customer and a beneficiary it is for the individuals to think differently and get the job done without disturbing the stretched bankmen and thus escaping their ire.

For personal banking, can we not really live without a regular visit to a branch to do our transactions?

Let us ponder. Some of the normal activities of a common customer can be broadly classified under two heads viz., Regular and Periodical , though not exhaustive.


  1. Cash Withdrawal
  2. Balance check
  3. Check transactions in the account
  4. Payment of EMIs
  5. Payment of Bills , Credit/Debit card bills
  6. Payment for utilities (Electricity, Resident Association, Internet Service provider, Cable TV etc., )
  7. Remittances / Money Transfer - to account(s) in the same bank or other bank(s)
  8. Recurring Deposit
  9. Passbook updates
  10. Standing instructions

11. Insurance Premium payment
12. Water Tax, Property tax
13. Income Tax payment
14. Payment of School/College fees
15. Cash Deposit 
16. Fixed Deposits
17. PPF 
18. Safe Deposit Locker operations

 In my opinion with little efforts , barring Locker operations, everything in the list above { though not  exhaustive} could be done through Internet Banking and ATM.

Some efforts with interest could save the customer a lot of hassles and heartburns in trekking to a branch and sweat it out waiting to be served.

Initially, it may look daunting, but with some practice these operations could be mastered to our own benefit.

Some may claim they are not educated enough to do these operations but, believe me I have seen minimally qualified people doing wonders on the internet and social network.

At the same time , when I conducted some free coaching sessions on basic computer skills, there were many participants, who were well educated and also had served in high positions, but they wanted to know more and learn properly.

So, what matters is not education alone but interest also.

But, many of us are used to start operating any gadgets without reading much the accompanying instructions and that is where it could hurt. I have seen many of my friends and relatives abroad, going fully through the manual of any item bought and then only start using them and that incidentally is the correct way, not to get bitten or victimized.

Recently I came across an incident wherein a person very educated and had also served in very high positions falling victim to a cyber fraud. What saved him from further damage is his awareness in setting the maximum limit in his online banking transactions.

The correct way will be to know the Don'ts first and also not to ignore the DOs as prescribed by the banks themselves. 

Awareness is the Key. Digital transactions have come to stay and it will be difficult to avoid them for long. Shunning them is also not in one's interest as was evidenced by the recent unfortunate pandemic which kept people indoors for months together. What made many people not only survive but also almost lead a normal life , barring driving on the streets, was the digital transactions and its operating knowledge. Whoever was conversant made hay while others suffered. 

From my part, I am keen on educating as many as possible on Cyber Awareness and one of my key initiative is Free online coaching sessions. Being conducted periodically since Feb 2022, over 250 people including seniors, retired senior executives, home makers and students have so far attended and benefitted . More details on this could be had from my website at: Senior-citizen-support

What saddened me in these sessions was the participation of some very highly educated who have also served in very high positions. At the same time, what gladdened me was that such people did not hesitate to come to learn, despite their education, position and age.

I have kept the cyber door open by offering FREE online coaching on 'Basic Computer Skills' to anyone interested at any time, as I feel basic computer operating knowledge is key to keep many cyber frauds at bay. For more on this free coaching sessions, please read at Community Support

So, my suggestion is : let us catch up, know and learn more about these and start operating on our own, saving a lot of leg work to bank branches more populated with customers than staff and relieve the bank men of their ordeal by staying away from them. 

If we transact from home, does it really matter whether the banks work for five days or six days and should we really worry about long bank holidays ? 

Before I sign off, let us have some thoughts to munch:

As a well-wisher, I am willing to offer my knowledge on this to the needy.

As a customer, you may be willing to learn and operate Internet Banking staying away from the branches

My question is what are the banks doing to attract customers more to online banking?

 My suggestion is : why not banks invite their customers periodically and conduct simple coaching sessions and also grab the chance to get closer to the customers more ? 

Happy and Safe Banking !

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Is my money safe at the Bank?

A long post , but take a call which is important :

                - Taking away few minutes of your time or your bank balance !

 In the early thirties and forties people were believed to have kept their resources concealed in earthen and other pots buried under the ground and never used to leave the place, for fear of their hard earned valuables being stolen. As days progressed, finding it difficult to become tied to a place and also to protect them from persistent intruders, greater protection mechanisms were evolved when the brick and mortar concepts of banking came in handy. In the early days, banking was more closely confined to the safe keep of the money with some sops like interest which were not exactly attractive but people still accepted it for the sake of security of their money. 

With the elements of perceived risks in private financial organizations being eliminated by the government taking over the management and greater control mechanisms of some banks in 1969 and 1980,  the confidence soared and there was no turning back for such banks after 1970s. Keeping the growing number of customers happy and satisfactory became the main challenge of the banks when 'Customer service' became the buzzword and at times even yardstick for people to differentiate the wheat from the chaff. 

When the banking doors were thrown open to all, making it affordable to every strata of society, people were finding it difficult to continue with personal bank visits for their needs. The accent of service changed from 'Personal' to 'Remote' when the other bigger element of  'security' was not given that much of emphasis, though not ignored. With the pandemic ravaging the world the need for remote banking and contactless transactions became the need of the hour and India is one country which grabbed the opportunity well and now one can walk on the streets and shop without carrying any cash and with only a plastic card and some memorized PINs. 

When people started relaxing about safe banking of their resources came the bombshell of their hard earned savings being nibbled away, mostly without their knowledge and many times even they do their part ignorantly in getting their balance dwindled. Took some time for everyone to realize it was 'easy banking' not only for customers but also for fraudsters !!

Earlier it was reported of accounts being accessed by hijacking the OTP through Simswap like frauds, where the mobile phone was deactivated thus taking control away from the hapless customer  !

But now we hear of even transactions without OTPs . . .

Worse to realize that they not only take away money but also add beneficiaries - which means complete takeover of the management of the account  !! 

While mastering the art of breaking into one's internet bank account with the customer's credentials the fraudsters also devised  ways and means to handle the additional factor of security that was sought; they either sweet talked or hoodwinked the gullible ones with non existent sops like unclaimed bounty or  adorn the robes of government and ask for KYC updates. When these methods were tried, they also  made the victim press the panic button saying the customer's card will be blocked without an instant update. When the gullible and ignorant customer responds falling a prey with any such methods, his bank account is heavily dented with whatever available.

The speed at which fraudsters are gaining ground is not only scary but also dangerous !

And cyber frauds were like the dreaded covid- not sparing anyone , caring little about their status. Right from Technocrats to Civil servants to Bank executives to home makers, the list of victims is endless.

So, how to avoid becoming a prey? Are there not any way out of these traps?

First and foremost is to be aware of what is happening around. How a potential victim is lured? How a soft target is identified? How well the potential victim's support system is assessed.

Yes, Need of the hour is Awareness . Greater Awareness.

About the Modus Operandi

About Preventive measures and 

About Reactionary steps, when one gets sucked 

In this con game which at times even cost the life of the victim, there are greater roles to be played both by the customer and banks themselves. In addition NGOs, Community Support organizations and peoples' well wishers could step in to improve awareness.


  • Please be aware of all the modus operandi that are being shared in the news papers and channels. Basic awareness of these could instill an additional layer of alert in everyone.
  • Keep yourself updated through right channels and guidance
  • Avoid public or free Wi-Fi , which are generally insecure for banking transactions
  • Every bank periodically comes out with their own protections like setting transaction limit, Card limit, Online limit, eCommerce transaction limit etc., Be aware of these and ensure that it is set properly. 
  • Ensure a strong password (minimum of 21 characters- my suggestion) for all your accounts
  • Never click on any link shared by anyone even if it is from the bank representatives. Instead go to the bank's website from your system and then update your required inputs
  • Never respond to any call/ SMS/Email in haste. Just pause for sometime before reacting to such potential traps.
  • Never share your OTP with anyone
  • Compulsorily change your password periodically or when you feel you have used it in unsafe environments.
  • Change your password on return from domestic or International travel.
  • Do not expose your main bank account (wherein your salary, pension or monthly deposit interest is credited) for online payments and other eCommerce transactions. If possible, keep a separate bank account and use only that for such transactions and keep only a minimum balance there.
  • Review your internet banking account periodically and verify that only your authorized transactions are shown.
  • Review your internet banking account periodically and ensure that only your authorized  payees are there and delete the payee details which are no more required.
  • Ensure that your device is secured with a reputed and proven anti virus software
  • Avoid mobile banking (my personal thought) and operate internet banking only from your personal system or laptop. I am aware of many who would like to debate on safety of mobile banking vis-a-vis internet banking, but then this is my thought and I am sharing what I am convinced about. 
  • Never ignore any SMS on your mobile - It could be a message for a transaction that you may like to contest
  • Keep a list of TODO handy (which could include banks' helpline number, Police details, Cyber crime reporting points etc. ., ) that could be used in times of need without loss of time.
  • Be clear of the steps to be taken in case of an attempted or successful fraud on you. Never panic and it is IMPORTANT that it is reported within the Golden hours for a possible recovery of loss.
 It is to the credit of banks that they are increasingly proactive in introducing new measures to protect the customers interest and also send periodically awareness messages through email and messages.

But some of the open areas , that has room for improvement are:
  • In case of multiple high value transactions over online, banks should explore having additional level of security like secondary pin for more than two consecutive transactions. 
  • OTPS/Pins  are not to be sent as SMS alone but a part of the OTP in SMS and other part as email { Already it is in vogue in some banks}
  • Like setting limits in Cards, banks applications could have limits for number (Not amount alone) of online transactions, which can be modified at the will of the customer
  • The 24  x 7 toll free helpline MUST be reachable as it is not in many banks
  • Banks need to propagate the cyber crime helpline of 1930 vigorously along with their own.
Awareness Groups:

There are many groups, welfare organizations and NGOs like Cyber Society of India ( which are already focused on creating greater awareness and sensitizing the public about the prevailing cyber threats.

 The welfare association of the local area could join hands with such NGOs along with the local police station and conduct periodical road shows and sensitize the public about changing methods of fraudsters. 

All said and done, with all the sermons given, only you could lock your house to prevent unauthorized entry of unscrupulous elements.

Remember the following mantras and stay protected :
  1. View with caution anything offered free (like unsecure Wi-Fi, Lottery etc.,)-could cost you dear
  2. Never click on any link through SMS or email
  3. Never respond to calls in haste
  4. Double check with the authorities before reacting to alerts
  5. Never share your OTP, Password or personal Id documents 
  6. Protect your bank account with all the recommendations from the bank
  7. Keep following the updates from Bank, Police and welfare groups and never be left behind
  8. Keep Praying and hope that you are away from the fraudster's glare
Good Luck !

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

I Swear , I am alive

 Visitor to note : This is a post on submission of Life certificate by pensioners, and if the subject does not interest you. . . . .Bye

In case you are still reading, hello dear Pensioner / well wisher.

This is an account of the travails of a pensioner who would like to assert that he is alive!

In India, many categories of people receiving Pension were expected to appear before the Pension disbursing official , who will certify that he/she is alive on that day, thereby becoming eligible to receive pension until the next appearance at the specified date. The process of appearing before the official in a short window of time every year, was causing concern for some people who are immobile due to age or those who travel out of India and also those who are abroad with their relatives, as the non submission would be taken that the pensioner is not alive leading to suspension of the pension.

As part of Digital India process, the Government of India , introduced an alternate scheme of submitting this Life Certificate digitally, making use of the Unique Identification process with the Aadhaar card, dispensing with the personal appearance requirement. As is with Banks in India, initially many were reluctant to embrace this process more due to their lack of initiative to understand the process as evidenced in the stakeholders learning their lessons out of computerization late which the representative bodies of employees stoutly resisted only to realize later that it actually eases the work of their members in addition to sizeable incentives in the name of allowances.

The banks in their misplaced defiance had the audacity to drag its feet on a scheme introduced by the Prime Minister of India in 2014 and it took some legal arm twisting by some pensioners to make them fall in line.  

Some banks took to the scheme reluctantly but did its best to drive the pensioners away from it and recommended physical submission ! Even now a pensioner in Karnataka lamented that the bank official there said that it is illegal to submit life certificate digitally !!! 

As pressures mounted, the banks adopted the Digital Life Certificate as part of the process and started including this in their circulars giving legitimacy to DLC. But, the communication from banks to its pensioners wildly varied. While a stringent circular announced that failing to submit Life Certificate before the stipulated date will result in the stoppage of pension disbursement, the circular itself was never made to reach all the pensioners. It is time the banks realize that their formal directive of displaying the circular at the branches is not serving the purpose as the aged pensioners rarely visit  branches due to Internet banking & ATM. While banks like Union Bank of India informed their pensioners with SMS and Emails, many banks did not even care to inform their pensioners about these requirements. Wonder why the banks should not use the same electronic channels to communicate to the pensioners, which they do to their advantage ?

In the meanwhile the system of Digital Life Certificate (DLC) submission through Jeevan Pramaan (  using a simple Finger Print scanner was getting more popular and had started attracting more pensioners with every passing year. The govt has done well to give a very detailed process and an unambiguous FAQ in the Jeevan Pramaan website.

I decided to try this method in 2019 and with some efforts was able to submit the DLC successfully and detailed the steps I undertook in my blogpost at:  for the benefit of others.

This year , based on earlier experience and egged by the confidence attempted the same and was pleasantly surprised that the DLC was generated and submitted with minimal efforts. 

My assumption that the issue settled there was belied when my bank dragged its feet to recognize the submission.

We are used to adapt any process hesitantly and in line with that the yearly circular on life certificate  carefully avoided mention of individual acknowledgement of DLC from the bank to pensioners. This created some anxiety for the pensioners , as even after submission one is not sure whether the same is being recognized by the banks concerned despite clear directives from the Government of India.

I submitted my DLC on 10-Nov-2020, well ahead of the stipulated deadline of 31-Dec-2020. Though Jeevan Pramaan clearly states that the pensioners need not follow-up, knowing the process in our banks and by way of abundant caution, I communicated to my Pension payment branch about the same enclosing the DLC, for their records.

Keeping with the tradition, the branch kept silent with no response and slowly I escalated the issue to the pension cell, which was also silent on the communication.

Wanting to create a more visible evidence, I chose to lodge a grievance in the Pensioner's portal of the bank, despite the discouragement of seeing my earlier grievance of 2018 in an OPEN status !!! So much for online grievance redressal system in a nationalized bank ???!!

Undeterred, I lodged a complaint and waited for a response , which was expectedly absent. 

Then, I chose to lodge a 'Customer Complaint' through provision in the bank's portal , but  was stonewalled with a repeated 'Run Time Error' , at the last stage of submission.

Peeved at the indifference and lack of avenues , I chose to approach a General manager of the bank , giving details of all the efforts , copying the branch. Within hours came a reply from the branch that the DLC, submitted on 10th Nov has been approved on the 15th Dec, 2020.

The question is why should the pensioner be allowed to go from pillar to post to register a compliance that has been made by him?

What prevents the branch management to update the status or acknowledge such an important action by the pensioner, as the Jeeva Pramaan clearly states that a message will be sent to the bank immediately? 

What is the Accountability of the Senior Manager of the bank who failed in his duty?

Of what purpose is the online Grievance Management systems and where is the accountability for an issue that has kept open for over 18 months !!

Should  an Executive be dragged and his attention drawn for making such simple updates??

Last but not the least, what is preventing the banks from communicating with the customers directly through email (whoever has), while this data is being collected every year ??

Despite all the talks of computerization and digital banking, it is sad that  some banks in India still require names to dropped to shake them up from their Rip van winkle like slumber.

Greater accountability, not only in Non Performance Assets , but in every facet of official duties is the need of the hour. The erring bankers should also realize that it is futile to compare themselves with better organized corporate sectors when they do not match their service standards. Such indifference to customers in corporate sectors will be considered sacrilege and the doors will be opened for officials exhibiting such dereliction to be shown the exit path, into oblivion.

 Such bankers, should realize that it is not enough to compare them with corporate sector just for the purpose of wages but should also learn to perform like them.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Digital Life Certificate

Many steps are being taken by the Government of India towards alleviating the pains of senior citizens. One such effort is reaching out to super senior and immobile citizens, in RBI directing the officials of the bank to get the life certificates by visiting them, at a mutually convenient time. One of the laudable steps towards submission of Life Certificate (LC) by pensioner, which is required to be given once in a year normally in November for Bank pensioners, is to introduce submitting them electronically. The scheme was inaugurated way back in 2014, but it took so much of time for many banks to bring in the systems in place to enable the Pensioners to submit Digital Life Certificate (DLC). This is a boon to the pensioners, particularly those who are away from India to be with their children towards mutual support.

Through some followups, support and gathering data, I was able to submit the DLC for the first time,  yesterday (29-Nov-2019) from home and this post is an attempt to walk through the steps I took, so that it could be of some guidance and use to others who want to emulate.  I would hasten to add that these are the steps 'I took' towards successful completion of this task and it is to be noted that the hardware or the approach adopted here are not 'the' method and there could be many more, better and efficient ones too !

Hardware used:
a. A Laptop with Windows 10
b. Mantra MFS100 Finger Print Scanner (refer picture below)

I spoke to many who were using such FP scanners and also to one who is actually running a business organization, supporting pensioners in submitting DLC. In fact, Canara Bank , in its circular has mentioned eight such machines but, I was recommended this and so used this. This is available at Amazon ( ) or one could also get directly by approaching the manufacturers (refer: )

Following are recommended steps based on my experience:
  1. Visit the Jeevan Pramaan website: 
  2. Go to its 'Download' page, as shown below:

3. Download :       JeevanPramaanInstaller_v3.6
4. For the hardware, I was using as referred above, visit the website:

5. Download the Driver:  MFS100Driver (Refer: Below)

6. Download the Driver: MantraRDService  

Following are the Downloads made: 

7. Double click on all application files (in your downloads folder) and install all of them, guided by the prompts made

Aadhaar Authentication:
8. Double click on Jeevan Pramaan shortcut on your desktop , which should appear like this : 

9. Provide all details requested in the screen, as below:

10. On giving the required inputs, a OTP is sent to both the Mobile number and email.
11. When successfully given, a confirmation email is sent, with a reference code as below:

To Generate Digital Life Certificate:
12. Again click on Jeevan Pramaan shortcut (as in step-8 above)
13. A screen from Life Certificate System will appear as below:
14. To complete the above , following details were provided :
a.       Type of Pension is ‘Service’
b.       Sanctioning Authority is ‘Banking Staff’
c.       Disbursing Agency is  ‘Bank’
d.       Agency  'Indian Overseas Bank' was chosen
e.       After providing all the details, DO NOT FORGET to tick the Check box near “I the holder of Aadhaar…” and keep your finger (I kept Left hand thumb) firmly on the specified place in the scanner

15. An acknowledgement screen will then flash  as below:
You can print the DLC, if a printer is connected to your device 

16. An SMS will come on the mobile as below: 
17.  An email will also be received as below:
To Print the Digital Life Certificate:
18. Click on the link provided in the email acknowledgement
19. You will be led to a page as below:

19. On providing the Pramaan ID, a screen will appear as below:
20. Click on 'Download Life Certificate', from where the LC could be downloaded in pdf format
21. Note to Logout , after completion of the task.
Some points to ponder:
A.  The above procedure was adopted by me for submitting DLC from my laptop. For using mobile, it may vary and I guess some Apps are also to be used for this purpose

B. As already mentioned above, there are many finger print scanner devices available in the market.  On my analysis, this appeared to be popular and so I used this. One could analyze and choose according to their comfort level.

C.  I feel this facility of DLC will be more useful for Pensioners who are away from India, as the OTP comes both through the mobile as well as through Email and people away from India should enjoy this instead of dependence on OTP through mobile only. Of course, for whose who are in India and could afford, a better method will be to go to ANY branch and submit the LC, until the system and staff settle down with the procedure.

Some queries and my suggested responses:
1. Will submission of Digital Life Certificate be accepted by our Bank?
Answer: Facility of DLC is provided by the Government of India and a bank does not have any option of accepting or otherwise. RBI in its circular (given below) has clearly directed the banks to create awareness about facility of DLC through its branches, website and other means.

2. Is Digital Life Certificate facility available for our Bank Pensioners?
Answer: Our Bank circular clearly states that the " ....branch can update Life Certificate through Jeevan Pramaan ..."- See extract of the circular below:

3. Should the pensioner (after submitting Digital Life Certificate through Jeevan Pramaan) , go to his/her  Pension branch and submit details?

As per law - "Not Necessary", as the above mentioned circulars from RBI and IOB clearly state that the Pension Disbursing Authority (PDA) could get the updated status of the Life certificate of Pensioners from the Jeevan Pramaan website. Please also refer to the Jeevan Pramaan FAQ , quoted below: 

However, in Banking we are used to Law and Practice ! So, to be on the safer side, the individual pensioner could track the status through Retirees Portal, where the status is updated. Also, one could meet the Pension officer and inform him/her about submitting DLC. Normally, experiences, as shared by some other Bank Retirees, is that the Pension officer asks for the Pramaan ID to extract the DLC. Though not required to share, one could give this just to ensure that the process is complete and that the pension continues to be credited.

4. Even after submitting DLC, will the pensioner be asked to come to the branch to sign physical copy of the Life certificate?
Answer: No need, as explained above. At best, the pensioner could direct the Pension officer to get the DLC.

5. Life Certificate issued under Jeevan Praman is essentially based on biometric authentication. One cannot do this at home simply based on aadhaar OTP

Answer: No , one can do it from home.
   a.  Jeevan Pramaan FAQ states that it can be generated from Home. Please refer to the screenshot below:

      b. IOB circular 7D-26 of 24.09.2018 also confirms this. Please refer to the extract of the circular which is given below

6. “. . . as any one can misuse it after the life time of pensioner. . . “

 Answer: No- As it is a real time finger print verification, it is not that easy to misuse

7. “…  Pension Payment Authority should have been enrolled under the scheme and will issue a notification to pensioners that Life Certificate under Jeevan Praman will be accepted….”

Answer: Very True.

a. IOB has already been notified about this – Kindly refer to Jeevan Pramaan list dated 10-Oct-2019, downloaded from JP website – Refer enclosure: DLC_PDA_Authority_1

b. IOB has also mentioned about this in its circular 7D-26 of 24.09.2018 requesting branches to sensitize about the JP scheme and its process

c.  IOB in its circular 7-D no: 30 of 25.10.2018 has already confirmed that “Jeevan Pramaan has been implemented in our bank since 2015..” – See enclosure DLC_PDA_Authority_2

8. “… Pensioner has to go to the Authorised centers/ outlets , where one can submit Life Certificates using bio metric authentication …”
No, Not necessary. If one has the infrastructure, then one can generate DLC , even from home, as quoted above

The above are based on my experiences and every other person is likely to have different perceptions and experiences. Will be happy to be shared with other thoughts, if any, on the subject. I would also recommend interested persons to spend some time on the world wide web, which has tonnes of information on DLC.

9. “So far I have not come across any circular issued by our Bank (IOB) on the acceptability of Life Certificate under Jeevan Praman.”
It is already done by IOB- Please refer IOB circular 7D-26 of 24.09.2018 and also the latest circular LC_7F_105_2019_NOV_01, wherein it is clearly stated about submission of Digital Life certificate through Jeevan Pramaan – Refer: Y_IOB_CIRCULAR, below

10. “For JP LC we have to take print & despatch to the bank branch”
AnswerNot necessary. The DLC is available to the Pension Disbursing Authorities electronically and they can download them- Refer: DLC_to_bank below:

 Note: I have also created a document of this post and should anyone need the same for reference, kindly send me an email at and I shall respond at the earliest.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Maligning the culture !!

Of late, it has become a practice to attribute things and activities to  'Corporate culture'- mostly when they go bad or wrong. And this has become the whipping boy for everyone, even from those who would find it difficult to spell the word ‘corporate’. While every culture has its points for review leading to growth, the tendency to sweep this off with a single stroke is disappointing.  But then, amongst other things, there are also many practices in corporate that are worthy to emulate. Some such are 'Innovative thinking' and 'Art of Appreciation'. Unfortunately, the lack of these practices in some are hurting the current banking scenario and this is an attempt to highlight their need for the serving and retired bank men, whose comments could impact the bank staff morale.

Taking cues from the corporate or other culture, some bank men from a popular nationalized bank in Chennai have thought innovatively and decided to hit the road, catch the customer or prospects on their early morning walk to get first hand feedback and to propagate some of the bank's offerings as well . And so they were spotted at the Chennai Marina beach near Gandhi statue early in the morning by around 6 AM, with a proudly perched uniform cap that glowed with the bank’s logo prominently - seen distributing pamphlets of the products and encouraging the walkers to visit  the branch for further inputs.

At the outset, the staff involved in such innovative thoughts have to be encouraged as they have gone some extra miles to take the bank to the place where the common man throng. One is not sure whether it is done at the suggestion or prompting or behest of the senior management or on their own. Either way, it requires a friendly pat!

But, the amount of cynicism, snide remarks, pessimistic thoughts aired by the fellow bank men (in service or retired), towards such a step, shows the extent of frustration and negativism that has been allowed into their system.

Here comes the second of the Corporate Culture - Appreciation. The said bank staff have chosen to hit the road early in the morning towards improving bank's image, offering and also customer contact, instead of availing the hard earned second saturday which the Government has given to them for an extended sleep to compensate for the extra hours put in through the week. This gesture of foregoing an opportunity of family time itself calls for appreciation as a first step and a pat for that would help the otherwise beleaguered staff to keep their morale high.

Instead, sarcastic remarks of this being a 'circus', ' a publicity stunt' etc., from the arm chair critics, will really hurt the hard-working staff.

A valid point has been raised that the customer service at the branch needs to be improved and there can never be a second opinion on this. But then, such innovations need not be halted for an existing malady! I am not critical of those expressions and do not mean to say that they are wrong. But, their frustrated or high-handed expressions could dampen the spirits of the few who still believe that they could put in their bit towards the upliftment of the bank, otherwise battered from all quarters. 
Let us first learn to appreciate others’ gesture and their efforts in going that extra mile, instead of putting dampeners and road blocks. If we can, let us join and contribute or simply turn the other way instead of hampering positive progressions.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Beware of Bankers' bungling

Computerization in banks have brought smiles all over the place with the staff, despite being the biggest beneficiary,  initially protesting under the pressures of their Unions only to accede later to the lures of additional sops and the ease of work the move has brought in. It is ironical that the current genre of staff may not fully realize to appreciate the benefits as they have not been exposed to the tough pre-1990s rigours of manual banking. Customers too have started realizing the benefits in a better way in that their visits to the branches have been minimized with the advent of Internet banking, increasing number of ATMs and various types of cards offered to them.

As you entrust the realm of managing your investments to the banks and they in turn outsourcing the job to IT organizations some of whom are good in technology but not necessarily in the domain, the move has also brought in its own share of woes to the banks that have mostly been conveniently passed on to the hapless customers. The accompanying cyber risks and the banks' initiative and preparedness to guard their customer interest is another area that is beyond the scope of the topic of discussion here.

       With the banks keen on reducing the customer footfalls and with some banks even levying nominal charges for personal discussions ,  customers have started avoiding branch visits. Bank customers, belonging to the pre computerization era were used to issuing cheques and then having it tracked through passbook entries. The current trend is to make online payments and track them through related messages and online statements. But there are some who are keen on issuing cheques and many who could still not be electronically credited and this post is meant to share the travails of some such customers only.

One of my friend, a former bank official, issued a cheque to Tamilnadu Electricity Board for a very nominal amount but was shocked to be informed by the Manager that his cheque is being returned, despite having sufficient funds in the said account ! When queried the official has replied that 'the cheque has already been paid earlier and so is being returned'.

On further enquiry it is revealed that a cheque with a different cheque number has been paid few months back wrongly using this cheque number and so when the cheque with the genuine number is presented , computer has warned that the cheque has already been paid.

To elaborate , a customer will normally be issued with a series of cheques from numbers say 123451 to 123460 of ten/20  leaves. An earlier cheque bearing number 123453 would have been wrongly paid by keying in the cheque number as 123457 (say) and when the actual cheque with the number of 123457 is presented for payment, the system will rightly throw up a warning that the cheque has already been paid.

Being an obedient servant of the 'system', the bank (official) without applying its mind has returned the cheque with the reason' Refer to Drawer...', roughly meaning "we are not sure why this cheque has been issued by the customer. Better check with him/her". And it is generally believed that this is one of the rudest reasons given while returning a cheque.

As many of us are aware TNEB is very strict in cheque payments in that once a customer's cheque is returned for non-technical reasons, it will never accept cheque payment anymore for that account and the customer has to pay only cash from then on. In the case under discussion,  for its collecting cheque being returned the bankers of TNEB have also levied heavy penalty charges and TNEB has obviously passed on the same to the customer whose payment has been 'defaulted'.

The hapless customer , for having his cheque wrongly been returned by the bank first suffered the disruption in electricity services as TNEB promptly disconnected the supply ! First he had to run around, explain the situation and pay cash towards for the amount of cheque returned to restore the services !

When questioned as to why the cheque, which was otherwise in order in every way and also with sufficient funds in the account to meet, was returned  his bank official had the temerity to say that the cheque  was wrongly returned by TNEB's bank (sic) and so the charges have to be collected only from them !!

It is a clear case of inefficiency, indifference, professional arrogance and deficiency in services on the part of the bank official to have put the hapless customer into such a predicament and also had the cheek to advise the customer to approach payee's banker for redress.

Where the bank(er) failed :

1. Any return of cheque is carefully analysed more importantly for payment to TNEB, as any bank worth its name should know of and any banker with an iota of common sense is expected to be aware of the importance of payment to utilities.

2. Further, the bank official has completely failed to apply his mind in analyzing how a paid cheque could have been presented again for payment??

3. A simple browsing of the customer's account on the computer could have revealed the faux-pas of a data entry error committed earlier by the bank in keying an incorrect cheque number.

4. An additional sense of caution should have been exercised when a cheque is returned for technical reasons not related to availability of funds.

It is a fit case to be taken up with the consumer forum, claim the damages for penalizing the customer for the bank's fault, damaging the reputation and highlight the banker's inefficiency in the media, my lawyer friend specializing in Consumer issues, says.

How can we as customers be more alert to avoid such gaffes of the bankers which ultimately affects us:

a. It is a good practice to browse through your account periodically through Internet banking or keep updating your passbooks. Having issued a cheque, better track it until its payment and ensure that it is being paid with all the correct details mentioned there.  If this had been done, the said customer could have noticed the wrong cheque number, though he would not have anticipated the pain that is to be inflicted upon him later ! This is strictly not expected of the customer, but then if one is keen to protect oneself from others' gaffes, such measures are advisable.

b. Of late, banks are now levying 'unheard of charges' arbitrarily and this could reduce your perceived balance. Periodical review could help you to be aware of the real balance status.

c. Such periodical glance through the account  will also help you in knowing your balance status before issuing cheques, which could potentially be returned for want of funds.

d. Old timers growling with the reason of not being conversant with Internet Banking, OTP etc.,  -  - - - -  better learn them fast from their grand children, in their own interest !

So,  as a customer whose investments have been entrusted to the banks for their maintenance and disbursal as per our directions, it is for the customers in their own interest to keep track of their accounts.

Such measures, though not strictly mandated,  is certainly desirable, in your own interest to save some leg work and also to keep one's blood pressure under check !!