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Banking guidelines for opening and operating accounts in case of individuals with disabilities

For individuals with disabilities, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks Association (IBA) have put in place guidelines for opening and operating accounts.

1. In case of customers who may have lost, say, their arms, toe impressions will be accepted for opening the accounts. Now, if the unfortunate incident has occurred after opening of the account and the customer wishes to make a withdrawal, she can visit the bank. The identity will be established on the basis of know your customer (KYC) procedure completed at the time of opening the account. The photograph provided then will serve as the identity proof and officials will find a solution to help the customer carry out transactions. A medical certificate and witnesses who can confirm the identity would also be required

2. In cases where the customer cannot be physically present at the branch, bank officials could extend the courtesy of visiting him or her to complete these formalities. The banking system has outlined procedures that have to be followed for customers who may be facing physical, mental and visual impairment.

3. For those who cannot sign due to the loss of both hands, banks need to ensure that there is physical contact with the withdrawable instrument by the account holder. The signature may be by means of a mark, which can be placed by the person in any manner. It could be even a toe impression. This mark has to be identified by two witnesses, where one of them has to be a bank official. The customer may be asked to indicate to the bank as to who would withdraw the amount from the bank on the basis of cheque or withdrawal form. This person has to be identified by two independent witnesses. The person who would be actually drawing the money from the bank should be asked to furnish his or her signature to the bank.

4. Similarly, bank officials are required to assist visually impaired accountholders in carrying out day-today transactions. “All banking facilities including cheque book, ATM and locker facilities have to be provided to such individuals. The banks are also required to assist such persons in withdrawal of cash. In order to help such persons, it has been suggested to banks by the IBA that they should provide talking ATMs with Braille keypads for visually-impaired persons.

5. For those with conditions like autism, cerebral palsy and severe multiple disabilities, banks may ask for guardianship certificates issued by local level committees set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999. They can also rely on guardianship certificates issued by a district court under the Mental Health Act.

The legal guardians appointed under these provisions can open and operate the accounts.

Source: The Economic Times