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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Banking

Customers to feel heat as banks tighten norms
Sachin Kumar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 07, 2013
First Published: 21:09 IST(7/5/2013)
Last Updated: 21:11 IST(7/5/2013)

The next time you visit your bank, don’t be surprised if the staff put out more than the routine queries, as commercial banks both private and public have turned wary in the wake of the recent allegations of money laundering by Cobrapost.

“Banks are strictly adhering to the regulatory guidelines relating to Know Your Custo­mers (KYC) and anti-money laundering norms, but after the allegations but we are extra cautious now,” said a senior official of public sector bank. “The impact (of Cobrapost allegations) is on sentiments,” he said.

Cobrapost had in its previous sting operation in March, levelled money-laundering charges against ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. All banks have initiated inquiries into the allegations, and employees are playing safe.

“No one wants to take any chance relating to KYC guidelines,” said a branch manager of a private bank. “It is better to take extra precaution.”

Consumers fear harassment in the name of stricter norms.

“Bank officers especially the officers at branch level will take extra precaution (and) general customers may be harassed,” said SS Bhandare, president, All-India Bank Depositors’ Association “Banks should ensure genuine customers are not harassed.”

Analysts feel that the allegations would not affect banking operations.

“There will be extra caution but I do not think there will be any moderation in lending by banks. They will be sending communication regarding following strict KYC norms to employees,” said Vaibhav Agrawal, vice-president at Angel Broking.


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