Security of deposits not bankable | india | Hindustan Times
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Security of deposits not bankable

SENIOR OFFICIALS of public sector banks in the Lucknow circle are still not discussing the new threat being sensed?a mob-like situation in which bank deposits could be looted by anti-socials and its employees attacked.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 00:39 IST

SENIOR OFFICIALS of public sector banks in the Lucknow circle are still not discussing the new threat being sensed—a mob-like situation in which bank deposits could be looted by anti-socials and its employees attacked.

Low priority given to adequate police security in bank branches is alarming and could be gauged by a ‘half-page’ perfunctory note put up in the report of the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC)—a body comprising all the lead and non-lead banks as its members. The report, published every year, mentions but only a few security guidelines for banks to follow in their branches across the State.

Besides, fact remains that branches of most of the public sector banks in the city still do not have more than two security guards on duty, or, as in several Lucknow branches, sometimes none at all.

A third of banks in the city still rely on police patrols with cops only visiting a bank branch several times in a day to ensure security of the premises.

A senior bank official informed that while there were special security measures for banks in the insurgency-hit areas of the country, there were no specific RBI guidelines on how to save a bank from a riot or mob-like situation when both bank deposits and lives of employees are under threat from anti-socials. The standard procedure mentioned in the security guidelines is to coordinate with the police in an area to ensure security of a bank branch during threat situations, he said.

The security guidelines are clearer for bank branches whichhave a currency chest in a locality and which stipulate deployment of a minimum number of policemen in the branch. The other banks which do not have a currency chest are asked to make their own security arrangements in consultation with the police of a particular locality.

Moreover, the annual feature of holding ‘Security Week’ by most banks under RBI directives had also proved that matters discussed during such events had never gone beyond preventing dacoity and fraud in banks.

There is more—the RBI issued special instructions to all the banks last year for holding regular meetings with the senior superintendent of police (SSP) in the Lucknow Circle for reviewing security arrangements of all the bank branches in the city following several incidents of loot in the branches of Union Bank of India (UBI) in the past three years in the Lucknow Circle.

The irony is that very few banks had been holding meetings religiously with the SSP in a year to discuss security issues. The banks continue to evaluate the security needs of the branches as per their own threat perception depending upon the cash retention ratio of customers in a branch.