Bank of Baroda fallout: Reserve Bank to revise forex norms

Updated on Oct 17, 2015 10:51 PM IST

Following the alleged Rs 6,000-crore foreign exchange scam at one of India’s largest public sector banks — Bank of Baroda — the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to make it mandatory for all lenders to report smaller transactions from a single account.

Reserve Bank of India(AFP File Photo)
Reserve Bank of India(AFP File Photo)
Hindustan Times | By

Following the alleged Rs 6,000-crore foreign exchange scam at one of India’s largest public sector banks — Bank of Baroda — the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to make it mandatory for all lenders to report smaller transactions from a single account.

While foreign remittances were made from the bank’s Ashok Vihar branch, these were not reported as they were lower than the threshold limit of $100,000.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has urged RBI to make it mandatory for banks to report cases involving multiple transactions within a span of a couple of days that take place from a single account, even if they are lower than the threshold limit.

“The CVC took up the matter with the CBI to register a case forthwith u/s 8(1)d of CVC Act and Enforcement Directorate was also advised similarly. The raids were conducted the very next day and immediate action was taken by both the agencies, which is continuing on a 24x7 basis. The CVC has also advised the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and RBI that multiple transactions from a single account, even if they are relatively lower than $100,000 on the same day, must be brought to light and reported,” TM Bhasin, vigilance commissioner told HT.

The RBI and CVC are looking to bring in a stringent “know-your-employee” norm.

The CVC, which is also part of the multi-agency probe, is set to ask banks to put in place a proper “whistleblowing” guideline, especially in relation to secrecy and protection of the whistleblower.

“One of the main ways to ensure that these incidents do not happen is to strengthen the whistleblowers’ norms,” Bhasin added.

The CVC has also asked banks to undertake a full scrutiny of their own systems, including know your customer norms as well as transaction patterns of their high-value account holders.

The state-owned banks have incurred a loss of over Rs 11,000 crore in the previous financial year on account of frauds, as per RBI data. In 2013-14, about 2,500 cases of frauds were reported, resulting in a loss of Rs 7,542 crore.

The Bank of Baroda too, in a statement, said the lender would undertake a comprehensive review and identify the “deficiencies in the structure, processes and systems, with a view to prevent recurrence of such an incident.”

“My utmost priority is to examine the current situation and bring about the necessary changes within the bank to ensure such unfortunate incidents do not recur,” PS Jayakumar, MD and CEO, BoB said.

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