Vol. XLII No. 21 May 27, 2018

Bankers Union Demands Wilful Defaulting be Made Criminal Offense

THE Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), in view of recent incidents of defaulters like Nirav Modi denting banks with huge sums of money, has urged the government to implement the four demands they have been making since many years, to safeguard public sector banks of the country.

In an official press release given on May 18, the Federation demanded that wilful default in repayment of bank loans be made a criminal offense and deterrent punishment must be meted out to the culprits.

The BEFI also demanded that all assets of the defaulting corporates, their promoters and the in-house directors be confiscated to recover the loans.

The third demand from the bankers union to the government is that all companies having, on its boards, any director of any defaulting company must be debarred from all sorts of bank loans, whether fund-based or not.

Seeking more accountability, the Federation demanded that all bank executives directly involved in sanctioning of loans be made personally accountable for bad loans and responsible for recovery thereof and for this purpose, necessary legislation be made. The bankers also insisted that the relevant part of the PJ Nayak Committee Report recommending immunity to the concerned executives be scrapped.

“In this connection, we further demand that the RBI representative on banks’ boards must be made responsible for keeping close surveillance over the loan portfolios of the respective banks,” the press release read.

Coming down heavily on the government for not paying heed to their demand, the union said that the nexus between unscrupulous corporate lords, a few political bosses at the centre and top echelons of banks has been the main culprit for enormous bad loans infesting the public sector banks in the country.

“The case of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi denting the huge sum of Rs13,000 crore off a public sector bank is an ample testimony to our repeated assertion,” the Federation stated.

The BEFI also expressed concern over the RBI debarring two public sector banks from making any fresh advance until further notice. The union pointed that making of advances is the main source of revenue for any bank and a blanket ban on the same would only add to the present crisis. Marginal people, particularly the small entrepreneurs, peasants, artisans, etc., in the remotest areas where the said banks happen to be the only banking outlet, will be hit hard because of such a ban, the Federation opined.

We are painfully aware that central government is going full steam for privatisation of banks, shaking of public confidence and trust would create a fertile ground for such privatisation, the BEFI added.

Coming down heavily on the centre, the union said that blanket ban on sanctioning of loans may be a ploy to bolster the nefarious game plan on the government. “Hence, we demand immediate revocation of the subject ban in the best interest of the banking public, more particularly the marginal ones, and of the public sector banking as a whole,” the press note said.

The BEFI also called upon the bankers across organisations, cadres, and the public to raise their voice on their demands.