Kerala floods: Banks to reschedule loans, to provide much needed respite to victims
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 23: Banks in Kerala have decided to reschedule loans and to not levy service charges and fees for issuing new cheque books to customers affected by the floods that has left a trail of destruction.
The state Level Bankers Committee, Kerala, at its emergency meet yesterday also decided to announce a moratorium on education loan for a period of six months and all other loans for one year besides rescheduling the loan repayments for five years.
Addressing a press conference here, Canara Bank Chairman T N Manoharan and its Executive Director and SLBC Chairperson P V Bharathi also said no fees would be levied for debit card and cheque books, among other things, for customers affected by the floods.
"We will not charge any fees from customers affected by floods to restart their banking activities. This will come into force immediately and this facility would be available till October 31," Bharathi said.
All documents and data were safe as there was a Disaster Recovery Centre for every bank, she said.
A total of 323 bank branches and 423 ATMs had submerged in the floods, she added.
Of the affected branches, 162 have resumed functioning, Bharathi said.
Giving details about the branches that have not started functioning again, she said there are 67 in Pathanamthitta, 33 in Alappuzha, 29 in Ernakulam and 19 in Thrissur districts.
With regard to ATMs, 82 have been reactivated, she added.
Though some of the branches have been opened, the banks have yet to start full-fledged operations as computer systems were not fully functional, she said.
Asked whether articles kept in bank lockers were safe, bank officials said lockers in some branches were also under water.
"We will know only when the customer opens it, whether the articles have been damaged or not," a bank official said.
Officials also said that all the recovery proceedings already started have been stopped for three months.
In one of the worst floods witnessed in the last century in Kerala, 231 lives were lost and nearly 14.50 lakh people are still put up at about 3,879 relief camps after a murderous monsoon rampaged through the state in its second spell that began on August 8.