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RBI Guidelines for Collection agents


RBI Guidelines for Collection agents

DBOD.No.Leg.BC.75 /09.07.005/2007-08

All Scheduled Commercial Banks
(Excluding RRBs)

April 24, 2008
Dear Sir,

Mid-Term Review of the Annual Policy for the year 2007- 08 – Recovery Agents engaged by banks
Please refer to the paragraph 172 and 173 of the mid-term review of the Annual Policy for the year 2007-08, a copy of which is enclosed. In view of the rise in the number of disputes and litigations against banks for engaging recovery agents in the recent past, it is felt that the adverse publicity would result in serious reputational risk for the banking sector as a whole. A need has therefore arisen to review the policy, practice, and procedure involved in the engagement of recovery agents by banks in India. In this backdrop, Reserve Bank issued draft guidelines which were placed on the web-site for comments of all concerned. Based on the feedback received from a wide spectrum of banks / individuals / organizations, the draft guidelines have been suitably revised and the final guidelines are as follows:
Engagement of Recovery Agents
2. Banks are advised to take into account the following specific considerations while engaging recovery agents:
  (i) ‘Agent’ in these guidelines would include agencies engaged by the bank and the agents/ employees of the concerned agencies.
  (ii) Banks should have a due diligence process in place for engagement of recovery agents, which should be so structured to cover, among others, individuals involved in the recovery process. The due diligence process should generally conform to the guidelines issued by RBI on outsourcing of financial services vide circular DBOD.No.BP.40/ 21.04.158/ 2006-07 dated November 3, 2006. Further, banks should ensure that the agents engaged by them in the recovery process carry out verification of the antecedents of their employees, which may include pre-employment police verification, as a matter of abundant caution. Banks may decide the periodicity at which reverification of antecedents should be resorted to.
  (iii) To ensure due notice and appropriate authorization, banks should inform the borrower the details of recovery agency firms / companies while forwarding default cases to the recovery agency. Further, since in some of the cases, the borrower might not have received the details about the recovery agency due to refusal / non-availability / avoidance and to ensure identification, it would be appropriate if the agent also carries a copy of the notice and the authorization letter from the bank along with the identity card issued to him by the bank or the agency firm / company. Further, where the recovery agency is changed by the bank during the recovery process, in addition to the bank notifying the borrower of the change, the new agent should carry the notice and the authorization letter along with his identity card.
  (iv) The notice and the authorization letter should, among other details, also include the telephone numbers of the relevant recovery agency. Banks should ensure that there is a tape recording of the content / text of the calls made by recovery agents to the customers, and vice-versa. Banks may take reasonable precaution such as intimating the customer that the conversation is being recorded, etc.
  (v) The up to date details of the recovery agency firms / companies engaged by banks may also be posted on the bank’s website.


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