Allahabad: The judiciary has again pulled up ICICI Bank for the misadventures of its loan recovery agents and asked the bank to pay Rs.25,000 as special cost. Prema Devi, who took a vehicle loan from the ICICI Bank's civil lines branch at Allahabad, has petitioned the court to get her vehicle paper released.
She told the courts that though, she had paid all the installments to the bank on time, the bank has demanded two more installments. The division bench of Justice V M Sahai and Bharti Sapru took strong exception of the use of goonda elements for recovery practices and ordered the bank to pay Rs. 25,000 to Prema Devi for the mental torture she had undergone during the entire episode.
Earlier also in a similar looking case, which also involved the ICICI Bank's recovery agents, a 75-year-old widow Prakash Kaur from Kanpur complained about the bank sending goondas to recover dues from her. She had also taken a truck loan from the bank and paid 33 installments on time but had defaulted only in the payment of the last installment. The agents later forcibly took away her truck. The Allahabad High Court had ordered registration of an FIR against ICICI Bank branch manager, President, Chairman and Managing Director.
High handed nature of loan recovery incidents in recent times have led to a great deal of suffering for many borrowers. Though, the Reserve Bank of India had issued draft guidelines on loan recovery, banks have their own concerns regarding the effectiveness of such guidelines. The high incentives and stiff targets before the recovery agents coupled by a lack of proper training and sensitization towards a borrower's concerns, are big cause of such incidents. Fair practices regarding loan recovery have been there for long but as the Indian Banks' Association IBA had also stated that spirited implementation, self-regulation, proper training and adherence to rule of law is the need of the hour.