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Congrats Chairperson SBI!

Congrats Chairperson SBI!
We have received a number of calls over the years on the Eyeway helpdesk from blind and visually impaired persons wanting to know if they could apply for loans from Banks. The Reserve Bank of India  vide its circular dated 4th June, 2008 and the IBA guidelines dated 18th November, 2008 catagorically state that there  can be no discrimination on the grounds of visual disability as far as banking services are concerned. Still it has been noticed that  blind and visually impaired persons are being  denied their right to open accounts, avail ATM facilities, use of cheque books, applying for loans etc. This denial of banking services to blind persons has been consistent amongst most banks across the country.
Dinesh Nimbhal and his wife Nirmala Devi , both blind are residents of Rewari, Haryana. They approached the State Bank of India at Rewari  for a personal loan. The Branch Manager, Mahavir Singh initially turned them away saying they do not have any cheque book or ATM cards, however when they presented the Bank with the RBI circular the facilities were extended to them.  But then the Branch Manager continued to refuse to process the couple's loan application stating that Nirmala Devi was only a peon in the Panchayat development office and her capacity to repay the loan was in doubt. Besides the couple were blind and belonged to the SC community and these  were cited as challenges.
The couple refused to give up. They called the Eyeway helpdesk and reported their situation. The CEO of Score Foundation sent a written complaint by Email to the Chairperson of the State Bank of India on behalf of the distraught couple at 7.21 a.m. on the 24th of June, 2015. . Credit to the Chairperson, her office responded by 1.25 p.m. on the same day with clear instructions to the Bank's senior officials at Chandigarh asking them to look into the matter and resolve the issue immediately. The couple were called on the 25th of June and were told to complete all formalities and were promised that the loan amount would be credited into their account the same day by 4.30 p.m..
Hats off to Dinesh and Nirmala Devi for not giving up and for not taking no for an answer. They were adamant and were prepared to fight for what was rightfully theirs. Also congratulations to the Chairperson of the State Bank of India for her swift and decisive action. I do hope the Chairpersons of other banks take a cue from this case and ensure that their respective banks are friendly and more welcoming to their blind customers.

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