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Don’t bank on it

New and innovative methods are being designed to get money back from you, so borrow at your own peril.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2012 22:15 IST

Over the years, the concept of a banker has undergone many changes. Back in the old days, a banker was a person who did the mundane but important business of managing accounts for customers who earned more money than they could manage. Today, a banker could refer to someone who has a fancy degree from a swish B-school and tries to sneak in references to Wall Street even when someone asks him how much sugar he would like in his coffee.

Then there are another kind of bankers who are restricted to Bihar for the moment. They are the breed of ‘goonda bankers’ who promise to double people’s money in just a year. They may be infamous for lending money at exorbitant interest rates and putting pressure on their clients to pay more money than they have borrowed. But like ‘regular’ banks, they too maintain digital records of their clientele and have a fleet of field agents who try to lure customers. But what sets them apart are their innovative ways of recovering money from defaulters. Consider the case of Abdul Rahim from Purnea district, who defaulted on a monthly instalment of R500. A goon, an employee of the bank in this case, paid him a surprise visit and extracted a syringe-full of blood from his body to give him a warning. Bloody revenge there, but haven’t banks already reminded us enough about the ‘market risks’ involved in such deals?

But we must give it to these lads for being upfront about getting recoveries. After all, every other bank in the world also employs hoodlums to do the ‘dirty job’ of recovering money from defaulters, but prefers to give them a respectable title of ‘recovery agents’. In the case of goonda banks, we can at least take comfort in the fact that what we see is not different from what we get.