SBI is the source of RBI’s wrath on delayed pension payments
April 23, 2010
Moneylife had revealed yesterday (see here) that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reprimanded pension-paying banks for delaying payments to pensioners and directed them to make good the dues immediately, along with penal interest.
It turns out that the reason RBI woke up is that a complaint was forwarded by a former highly-placed government officer to the deputy governor of the central bank, outlining the shoddy service given by the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), in the form of extensive delays in pension payments.
This former officer had apparently been kept waiting unsuccessfully for ten months to receive his revised pension under the Sixth Pay Commission. This complaint forced the RBI to take a deeper look at the systems put in place by SBI for pension payments. A joint team drawn from both RBI and SBI investigated the matter and found various discrepancies in the way things were being administered.
The Investigation Report finds that apart from the complainant, there were at least 1,800 non-state resident pensioners who were denied the revised pension payment for months together. Taking a serious view of the matter, the RBI has put in a strongly worded letter to the chairman of the bank questioning the lack of customer sensibility despite being a premier bank in the public domain. It has pointed to the absence of an effective system of customer service at the branch level where pensioners normally interface with the front office.
This also forced the RBI to inspect the system at other Agency Banks making pension payments. The findings were more or less the same across all Agency Banks.
In view of the above, the RBI has advised these banks, including SBI, to undertake review of the system of attending to customer service and have a pension accounts guide at all branches to assist the pensioners in all their dealings with the bank. Additionally, the RBI has demanded that suitable arrangements be made, to place on the bank website details about the pension calculations, and made available to the pensioners at periodic intervals with sufficient advertisements to that effect.
As with the other banks, RBI has demanded that SBI make the payment of the revised pension and arrears within 15 days from the date of receipt of its communication to that effect. Additionally, it has also advised the bank to make a penal interest payment of 2% for any delay beyond the due date, which is to be credited to the pensioner’s account automatically without any claim from the pensioner on the same day when the bank affords the credit for revised pension or arrears.