Banks in newsSouth-based Lakshmi Vilas Bank has tied up with Centrum Group in which the bank will refer its High Net worth Individuals (HNI) to Centrum for wealth management and family office services. Centrum will conduct the business through its wealth management arm, Centrum Wealth Management and will offer its existing portfolio of wealth management services to the bank's HNI clients.
Note: This is the first time in the country that a private bank has given the charge to an independent professional wealth
★ In a fresh push toward a less cash economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prohibited non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) of all kinds from lending more than Rs.20,000 in cash against gold.
Note: The NBFCs have been told to issue cheques for loan amounts above this prescribed limit. Earlier, NBFCs had been directed to disburse only high value loans of Rs.1 lakh and above against gold by cheque.
iSelect term plan★ Canara, HSBC and Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance launched iSelect term plan to expand its online product suit with the meant for family protection. iSelect term plan provides enhanced protection cover for the family at an affordable premium.
Note: It is a pure protection online term plan that provides life insurance cover along with the option to cover against accidental death/ disability.
★ State Bank of India has decided to reintroduce penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance in accounts from April 1, 2017.
Note: The Reserve Bank of India has permitted banks to levy charges for breaching minimum balance limit. Withdrawal of cash from ATMs will also attract a charge up to 20 rupees if the number of transactions exceeds three from other bank's ATMs in a month and 10 rupees for more than five withdrawals from SBI ATMs.
★ The State Bank of India is among four new foreign banks given preliminary approval to open 100 percent-owned branches in Myanmar, the latest move by the Southeast Asian nation to woo investment to the country long ruled by the military and hit by Western sanctions.
★ The German Development Bank (KfW) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) signed a loan agreement for €200 million to enhance energy efficiency in India. EESL will invest the funds in energy efficiency in households, buildings, street lighting, water supply, agriculture and industry.
Note: KfW also signed a funding deal of €500,000 with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agencyto maintain solar projectsThis is the second time Myanmar has allowed foreign banks to open 100-per cent-owned branches inside the country in more than five decades following permits to nine foreign banks in October last year to operate in the country. Myanmar's powerful military nationalized all banks when it seized power in 1962.
German Development Bank★ The German Development Bank (KfW) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) signed a loan agreement for €200 million to enhance energy efficiency in India. EESL will invest the funds in energy efficiency in households, buildings, street lighting, water supply, agriculture and industry.
Note: KfW also signed a funding deal of €500,000 with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agencyto maintain solar projects
Insurance ecommerce★ Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued guidelines on insurance ecommerce, thus paving the way for electronic platforms that will market as well as service insurance products.
Note: The insurance self-network platforms that are to be set up could be a regular web portal, mobile app or both. Entities registered with IRDAI, such as insurance firms or insurance intermediaries, are eligible to apply for setting up such a platform
★ As per the RBI data, ICICI Bank topped the list of banks that witnessed the most number of frauds in the April-December period of 2016 with state-owned SBI taking the second spot.
Note: The other banks which reported a large number of frauds to the apex bank during the period include Axis Bank (189), Bank of Baroda (176) and Citibank (150). The RBI data also revealed the involvement of bank staff in frauds.
Airtel Payments Bank★ Airtel Payments Bank, offered by telecom major Bharti Airtel, announced that over one lakh savings accounts were opened in 100 villages across Tamil Nadu. Through the initiative, the villages would have access to banking services along with the option of making digital payments.
Note: Payment Banks accept deposits from individuals and small businesses up to a maximum of Rs.1 lakh per account.
★ HDFC Bank has launched an instant digital Loan Against Securities (LAS) facility in collaboration with the National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL). Demat customers can calculate their eligibility for overdraft limit against shares, and open a current account instantly.
Note: The bank stated that customers can avail themselves of overdraft facility against shares in three steps:
(i) Select the shares to be pledged on net banking
(ii) Accept agreement through one-time password (OTP)
(iii) Pledge the shares with NSDL online through OTP.
SBI Card Unnati★ SBI Card on 28th March, 2017 launched a unique credit card 'SBI Card Unnati' targeted at all SBI customers, including Jan Dhan account-holders across the country. The card was launched by Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines.
Note: 'Unnati' would have no annual fees for the initial four years and will be offered through the 20,000 plus SBI branches. Any SBI customer with a balance of at least Rs.25,000 in his/ her savings account with the bank would be eligible for the Unnati credit card without the need for any credit score or credit history
Cabinet approval★ The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India. The approval comes after last month's Cabinet approval for the merger of SBI's five associate banks with the larger entity, which will be effective from April 1, 2017.
Note: BMB's total business of Rs.2,000 crore and its 103 branches will be merged with the country's largest bank soon.
★ To promote cashless digital transactions, South Indian Bank has introduced Aadharbased payment in its UPI mobile applicationSIB M-Pay. Even non-customers of South Indian Bank can link any of their bank account in this mobile application.
Note: Aadhar based payment in South Indian Bank's SIB M-Pay will be a major step in
Financial Literacy Centers★ The Reserve Bank of India has asked bankoperated Financial Literacy Centers (FLCs) and rural branches to organize special camps starting from 1st April to educate public about digital payments through Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data-based (USSD) '*99#' service code platforms. The camps will be conducted for one year.
Note: They will continue to conduct the tailored camps for five target groups like farmers, small entrepreneurs, school children, senior citizens and Self Help Groups.
★ HDFC Bank has launched an artificial intelligence based chatbot, 'EVA' (Electronic Virtual Assistant) for customer services in India. Eva is India's first AI-based banking chatbot' and can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly.
Note: Eva can assimilate knowledge from thousands of sources and provide answers in simple language in less than 0.4 seconds
Mera iMobile★ ICICI bank has launched a mobile banking app 'Mera iMobile' for rural customers.This app will allow them to access banking services as well as information on agriculture services. The app can also be used by nonICICI Bank customers as well. The Mera iMobile app provides around 135 services, available in English and 11 Indian languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu).
Aadhaar Pay★ IDFC Bank is now the first bank in the country to launch Aadhaar Pay. Aadhaar Pay is the biometric based payment system.
★ State Bank of India has now announced a one-time settlement for tractor and farm equipment loans that constitute about Rs.6,000 crore of doubtful and loss cases on its books. This scheme is however applicable for loan s up to Rs.25 lakh.
★ The 'Syndicate Bank' has digitally inaugurated 40 'Ananya' transformed branches to enhance customer experience, improve sales focus, and improve digital transactions through a dedicated digit zone. 'Project Ananya' is a two-year large-scale transformation project undertaken by the bank to provide customers with 'best in class' services while improving and modernizing the whole bank.