The RBI today asked banks to provide doorstep banking facilities to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently-abled persons by December this year. Banks have been directed that senior citizens and specially-abled persons, including the visually-impaired, should be provided basic services like pick-up and delivery of cash, chequebooks and demand drafts at their residence.
Issuing a notification in this regard, the RBI said "it has been observed" that there are occasions when banks discourage or turn away senior citizens and differently-abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches.
"... in view of the difficulties faced by senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently-abled or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability) including those who are visually impaired, banks are advised to make concerted effort to provide basic banking facilities...," the RBI said in a communication to banks, including small finance and payments banks.
These facilities should include pick-up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of cash against withdrawal from accounts, delivery of demand drafts, submission of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents and Life Certificates at the premises or residence of such customers.
"Banks are advised to implement these instructions by December 31, 2017, in letter and spirit and give due publicity in their bank branches and websites," it said.
The RBI noted that notwithstanding the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is imperative to be sensitive to the requirements of senior citizens and the differently-abled.
The notification further said that in addition to the facility of Digital Life Certificate under 'Jeevan Praman'
Scheme, pensioners can submit physical Life Certificate form at any branch of the pension-paying bank.
"However, it is observed that often the same is not updated promptly by the receiving branch in the Core Banking Solution (CBS) system of the bank, resulting in avoidable hardship to the pensioners," it noted, asking banks to ensure that when a Life Certificate is submitted in any branch, including a non-home branch, the same should be updated and uploaded promptly in the CBS.
The RBI asked banks to provide a minimum of 25 cheque leaves every year for a savings bank account free of charge. They should not insist on physical presence of any customer, including senior citizens and differently-abled persons, for getting cheque books.
Banks have also been advised that a fully KYC compliant account should automatically be converted into a 'Senior Citizen Account' based on the date of birth available in the bank's records.
According to the apex bank, banks should provide senior citizens and differently-abled persons Form 15G/H (related to tax deduction at source) once a year (preferably in April).