Distraught depositors of the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank want the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to speed up revival/reconstruction of the bank as they are in dire need of money to meet exigencies arising from the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the depositors, especially the elderly, are barely able to get by despite having lakhs and crores of rupees locked up in the bank, as the RBI clamped down on deposit withdrawal since September 24, 2019, capping it at ₹1 lakh per depositor for the entire period that the bank is under Directions.
With RBI extending its Directions against the bank for the fourth time from April 1 to June 30, 2021, depositors are wringing their hands in despair that even after 19 months no solution to their woes is in sight.
They pointed out that while depositors of other troubled banks such as YES Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank were rescued in double-quick time, when it comes to their bank, the rescue process has been drawn out.
Complex process, says RBI
Chander Purswani, President, PMC Depositors’ Forum, said: “The Bank should be revived/ reconstructed on SOS basis…Depositors are losing their lives amid the raging pandemic. These are testing times for all of us. The authorities should have some mercy on us.”
In a statement issued on March 26, 2021, the RBI observed that PMC Bank had received binding offers from certain investors for its reconstruction, in response to the Expression of Interest (EOI) floated by the bank in November 2020.
“RBI and PMC Bank are presently engaging with prospective investors in order to secure best possible terms for the depositors and other stakeholders while ensuring long-term viability of the reconstructed entity,” the central bank said.
The RBI also emphasised that given the financial condition of PMC Bank, the process is complex and is likely to take some more time.
Depositors’ angst: tweets say it all
Vasu Chhabria (@vasuchhabria) tweeted: “Reqst PMCBank Reconstruction/Resolution on war footing. Depositors losing lives. Pls don’t punish innocent citizens tax payers.
“Delay is costing lives. 19 months passed 118 depositors dead. What is their fault? It’s their hard earned money…”
Prem Kodnani (@drkodnani) tweeted: “If corona virus symptoms 1: difficult to get tested 2: difficult to get ambulance 3: difficult to get bed 4: difficult to get oxygen 5: difficult to get Remedesivir 6: to get all this, we require money…”
Srikanth Iyer (@SrikanthIyer10) tweeted: “Pls have humanity towards us v r also citizens of India rescue us by merging Pmc Bank with nationalised bank immediately it’s need of the hour…We can’t have access to our own hard-earned money.”
PMC bank was placed under RBI Directions with effect from the close of business on September 23, 2021, due to a huge fraud perpetrated by the promoter of a real estate group and some bank officials.
The Centrum-BharatPe combine is believed to be the front-runner in the race to buy PMC Bank.
As per the EOI floated by PMC Bank in November 2020, subsequent to commencement of the normal day-to-day operations, it will be open for the investor(s) to convert the bank into a Small Finance Bank (SFB) by making an application to RBI, subject to compliance with the RBI guidelines on Voluntary Transition of Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) into SFBs.