National Affairs

License For Corporates: Banks Union Threatens Strike Against RBI Internal Working Group Proposals

All India Bank Employees Union (AIBEA) has opposed the recommendations made by the RBI Internal Working Group. The recommendations call for allowing large corporate and industrial houses to promote banks and permitting promoters to raise their stakes in the bank’s equity share capital from 15 per cent to 26 per cent. They also called for allowing the conversion of large Non-Banking Finance Companies owned by the Corporate Houses into full-fledged Bankand payment banks into Small Finance Banks. CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBDA said all these suggestions and recommendations are retrograde and unwarranted in Indian conditions. “Our Banks represent Rs 135 trillion of people’s money. RBI is supposed to be the repository of the people’s faith in the banking system but unfortunately, RBI itself is suggesting measures that will endanger the safety of people’s money in the Banks,” he said. Venkatachalam alleged that many private banks owned and controlled by corporates and big business houses were mismanaged and failed, and innocent people lost their precious savings. He said scams were reported in the past where bank owners became the borrowers too and looted public money. In the past, many banks controlled by Corporates were catering only to the affluent and common people had no access to banking services. Venkatachalam added that in the past, when the Government wanted the private banks to participate in the country’s economic development, those ‘patriotic bank owners’ refused to contribute. He also asserted that it is the big corporate and business houses who are the major defaulters, and wondered whether it was prudent to allow corporate houses to own and control banks. “Can anyone agree that the lender (bank) and borrower (corporate house) should be owned by the same people and that it will not lead to conflict of interest and affect good governance,” he asked. If the Government and the RBI try to allow corporate houses to take over Banks, AIBEA will unleash countrywide agitation and organize repeated strikes,” said Venkatachalam, asking the Government to reject these proposals.

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