New Delhi, October 4, 2017

In a bid to improve banking facilities for senior citizens and differently-abled persons, the Reserve Bank has decided to instruct banks to put in place explicit mechanisms for meeting the needs of such persons so that they do not feel marginalised.

In the monetary policy statement, the RBI said, “It has been reported that banks are discouraging or turning away senior citizens and differently-abled persons from availing banking facilities in branches. Notwithstanding the need to push digital transactions and use of ATMs, it is imperative to be sensitive to the requirements of senior citizens and differently-abled persons.

It has, therefore, been decided to instruct banks to put in place explicit mechanisms for meeting the needs of such persons so that they do not feel marginalised. “Ombudsmen will also be advised to pay heed to complaints in this context. Necessary instructions in this regard will be issued by end-October 2017,” it said.

The RBI also said that the issue of transparent and fair pricing for retail users (individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises) in the foreign exchange market has been raised in various fora and in public interactions. “A mechanism is proposed for improving the pricing outcome for the “retail user” (to be defined in terms of transaction size) under which client pricing is directly determined in the market by providing customers with access to an inter-bank electronic trading platform where bid/offers from clients and authorised dealer banks can be matched anonymously and automatically,” it said.

Such a mechanism will provide transparency while enhancing competition and lead to better pricing for customers. Direct execution of orders by the customer would bring down the risk that banks face in warehousing transactions until they can be aggregated to a market lot. Banks may charge their customers a pre-agreed flat fee towards administrative expenses, which should be publicly declared.

“Overall, this should bring down the total cost faced by the retail customer in the foreign exchange market. The Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL) will develop access to its platform FX-CLEAR through an internet-based application. A discussion paper on the proposal will be issued by end-October 2017 for public comments,” the RBI said.

[The Financial Express]