Kolkata: Despite the hard stand by regulatory, judicial and administrative agencies, the terror of recovery agents continues unabated. In a fresh case of loan recovery misadventure, the Hasnabad branch State Bank of India (SBI) has been accused for sending men to a loan defaulter's house in her absence, who later allegedly robbed the defaulter.
Mrs. Biva Ray Chowdhury, a resident of Hasnabad had taken a car loan from the Hasnabad SBI branch and couldn't send the installments on time. She complained that some bank employees and recovery agents went to her home forcibly opened her almirah and took away jewellery worth Rs. 60,000. She launched a complaint with the police on 4 January (Complaint No 165/4/1/2008) and stated that the men ransacked her house while searching for more valuables.
The bank however has a different story, Mr Sisir Mohan, the manager of the branch denied the allegations and said, "She has to pay Rs 5 lakh. They are cooking up stories to bypass the issue. Our men went to their house to hang a money recovery notice. We will take legal action against them if the money is not recovered. Why should we take any other means to recover the money."
Desperation to meet credit targets, a broker-bank official nexus, or simply a very slack verification mechanism all can be cited as reasons for giving loans to people who don't have the adequate repayment capacity. This incident is a typical example where a lady whose background and repayment capacity was not checked properly, was given a car loan on which she defaulted within a short period.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had issued detailed guidelines on loan recovery agents and their conduct, however bank authorities have their own concerns on the effectiveness of these guidelines since loan recovery is a process, which will inherently involve some coercion. The need for a loan recovery will definitely be reduce to a great extent if the borrower's credentials are screened properly before disbursing any loan to him.