Special customers deserve fair treatment

Can visually impaired people benefit from all banking facilities independently?

If one is a visually impaired or visually impaired person, chances are that most banks will not open their independent bank account. They will either insist that he open a joint bank account with a sighted person, or that he open a bank account without a checkbook, or both.

Most of the time, the bankers equate even the most literate blind person with an illiterate person, who otherwise shouldn’t have been there. This attitude of the banking fraternity is contrary to the standing instructions of the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian Banks Association.

There are certain procedural guidelines advising banks that all banks must render the same services to a visually impaired person as to any other person without discrimination. In general, all banks must provide the same facilities to a visually impaired client/potential client as to any other client.

But at the same time, customers must be made aware of the risk incurred by some of these installations, which may be higher than that of a normal customer. There should be no hesitation on the part of banks to extend additional facilities such as reading and filling forms, slips and checks to these customers.

Banks cannot force a visually impaired customer to manage the bank account jointly with any person or in the presence of any person. However, at the request of visually impaired customers, banks must allow him to appoint one or more persons as his agent or proxy to manage his bank account.

However, banks must follow the same procedure for opening an account for a visually impaired person as for their other customers.

Cash withdrawal facilities provided to all customers for cash payments must be provided to visually impaired customers. If a visually impaired customer withdraws cash from the bank, payment must be made in the presence of another bank employee/agent.

Banks cannot deny access to the checkbook to visually impaired people. However, checkbooks can only be issued if the blind person can sign consistently. Even credit and debit cards cannot be refused to a visually impaired customer.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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