Mumbai: PMC Bank MD assures customers; Your money is in safe hands

Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 08:24 IST | Chetna Yerunkar |

Punjab and Maharashtra Co-op Bank MD sends out messages to customers assuring them of relief, requests co-operation

Bank customers rushed to their respective branches for fear of losing their money. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Bank customers rushed to their respective branches for fear of losing their money. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Customers thronged branches of Punjab and Maharashtra Bank (PMC) across the city on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of India put it under its directives for six months, thus limiting the bank's authority over business, including a tight cap on withdrawals. Messages conveying this were sent to its account holders on Tuesday morning immediately after which account holders visited their nearest branches for fear of losing their money.

The Versova branch of Punjab and Maharashtra Bank saw such heavy crowds that the local police had to be called in to maintain order. According to the Reserve Bank of India's press release, the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Limited, Mumbai, has been put under directions of the governing authority. Depositors will not be allowed to withdraw a sum exceeding '1,000 of whatever the total balance. The bank employees too were seen informing the customers about not this outside the branches.

"Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Limited, Mumbai, without prior approval in writing from the Reserve Bank, will also not be able to grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, incur any liability including borrowal of funds and acceptance of fresh deposits, disburse or agree to disburse any payment whether in the discharge of its liabilities and obligations or otherwise, enter into any compromise or arrangement and sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of its properties or assets except as notified in the RBI directions dated September 23," the release stated.

The directions shall remain in force for a period of six months from the close of business of the bank on Tuesday. The Central bank also added that the directions should not be construed as a cancellation of banking licence. "The bank will continue to undertake banking business with restrictions till further notice/instructions. The Reserve Bank may consider modifications of these directions depending upon circumstances," it said. Yogesh Dayal, chief general manager, issued the release which also stated, "The directions are imposed in exercise of powers vested in the Reserve Bank under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949."

'Please co-operate'

Through a broadcast message sent out to the account holders' phone numbers, the bank stated, "I, Joy Thomas, MD, regret to inform you that your PMC Bank has been put under regulatory restriction by RBI for a period of six months due to irregularities disclosed to RBI. As the MD of the bank, I take the responsibility and assure all the depositors that these irregularities will be rectified." "I know it is a difficult time for all of you and any apology may not restore the pain you are undergoing. Please co-operate with us. We assure that we will definitely overcome this situation and stand strong," he said. Another message from the bank also assured customers of their money being in safe hands. "Dear customers, we assure you that your money is in safe hands. Please give your support and trust us at this crucial moment. The restriction is only for a temporary period," it read.

Customers fret

The account holders, however, were seen panicking given the '1,000 withdrawal imposed on them. Some visited the bank to simply figure out if their Fixed Deposits were safe, while others wanted to withdraw their valuables from the lockers before the RBI could freeze their accounts. Gulshan Qureshi, a customer, told mid-day that his plans had gone for a toss. "We are common people who do not have access to our money, we live on our savings. We had plans for my daughter's wedding by the end of this year and our savings were here. Where will we go? It was demonetisation first and now this," he said. Another worried account holder Arjun Kanojia, said, "My EMI is due and there is no guarantee of when we will be allowed to access our accounts. What can we do in '1,000. There was no prior warning." An account holder in the Versova branch for the past 25 years said that he had planning his daughter's higher studies of my daughter. "I was in the process of applying for a loan but now I don't know what can be done," he exclaimed.

Employees didn't know either

An employee of the bank from the Versova branch said that they too had no idea of what was coming. "We got to know this morning. Even our salary accounts cannot be used. Some query was raised during the audit and we are trying to resolve it. We are only telling our customers to be patient for a few days."

Also Read: PMC Bank: RBI directives on bank put people in panic and despair

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