Banks Should Compensate Customers for Local Cheque Clearance Delay: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, has directed banks to compensate customers for any delay in clearing local cheques. This would mean that banks will have to compensate customers monetarily if a cheque to be credited in an account on Monday, for instance, gets delayed till Wednesday.

In a note to the chiefs of all banks - both commercial and co-operative - the RBI said they should have a cheque collection policy containing details of the amount they would pay customers for any delay in collection and clearance of cheques. If this policy does not include the amount payable for delays, the bank will have to pay the savings account rate to customers as compensation, the central bank said.

"Banks are advised to reframe their cheque collection policies (CCPs) to include compensation payable for the delayed period in the case of collection of local cheques as well. In case, no rate is specified in the CCP for delay in realisation of local cheques, compensation at savings bank interest rate shall be paid for the corresponding period of delay," a statement issued by the RBI on Monday said.

Private banks such as Yes Bank, IndudsInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank offer savings rate in the range of 5.5% to 7%, while state-run banks and some private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, pay 4% on similar accounts. The RBI had, in May last year, raised the savings rate from 3.5% to 4%. Many banks started offering higher rates after the central bank deregulated savings rate last October.

The RBI's decision to link compensation to savings bank account rates comes after it received several complaints from customers about delays in cheque clearance. "Instances of delayed credit to customers' accounts without any compensation for the delayed period beyond the timeline indicated in the CCPs, in respect of local cheques, have been brought to our notice," the RBI release said.

Economic Times, New Delhi, 14-08-2012

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