Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya has appealed for calm, days after the Reserve Bank of India imposed curbs on a cooperative bank in Bengaluru and capped the withdrawal limit at Rs 35,000. In a tweet late on Monday night, Surya said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had promised to protect customers’ interests.
“I want to assure all depositors of Sri Guru Raghavendra Cooperative Bank to not panic,” Surya tweeted late on Monday night. “Honourable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is apprised of matter and is personally monitoring the issue. She has assured [the] government will protect interests of depositors. Grateful for her concern.”
The Bengaluru-based bank has around 9,000 depositors. “...As from the close of business on January 10, 2020, the aforesaid bank shall not...grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment...” read a statement from the central bank on January 10. “In particular, a sum not exceeding Rs 35,000 of the total balance in every savings bank or current account or any other deposit account may be allowed to be withdrawn subject to conditions...”
The central bank clarified that the bank’s licence had not been cancelled, and allowed it to carry on with “business with restrictions till its financial position improves”.
Meanwhile, the bank’s Chairperson K Ramakrishna on Monday assured depositors that their money was safe. “Your money is 100% safe with Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank,” he said at Sri Guru Narasimha Kalyanamandira auditorium in Bengaluru, according to IANS. “It’s my responsibility.”
The chairperson said the central bank had imposed curbs after 62 dud loans locked up Rs 300 crore of deposits. Thousands of angry customers, meanwhile, demanded an explanation for the restrictions imposed. “The bank is saying I can’t withdraw more than Rs 35,000,” said 49-year-old Nagaraj M, a depositor. “In case of our fixed deposit maturing, we will have to renew it as we can’t encash it.”
Ramakrishna claimed he would schedule another meeting with customers on January 19, and provide more details. However, protestors threatened to register a mass complaints against him.