Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Recovery Agents of Private Bank are Acting Like goons

Standing tall at 5 ft 11 inches,

Lucky is a daunting and an imposing sight on the streets of Delhi. This 38-year-old has just started a detective agency of his own, but that's only a front for his real job
Lucky is a recovery agent. Big private banks hire him to make sure their loans are returned on time. Eighteen years in the business and he knows exactly how to get customers to pay up.

"We threaten people, we land up at their place and sometimes even use third degree," he admits to CNN-IBN.

Welcome to the world of corporate sponsored violence, a dark underbelly of the swanky banking sector where local goons and ruffians are hired by banks to terrorise customers into settling their dues.

Where threatening calls, verbal abuse and even physical violence have become part of routine collection system.

These recovery agents are not on any bank's rolls but stand to get a hefty cut of booty they help recover.

"Not just lathis, some agents even pull out their mousers, they stop cars on gunpoint, drag the owners and drive away with the car," Lucky says.

Sixty-year-old Surinder Kumar runs a consultancy in west Delhi. Two months ago, he fell victim to recovery sharks when one of his employees defaulted on his Rs-50,000 credit card payment to HDFC Bank .

"He abused, used filthy language and threatened us. They said our kid has been picked up. We were very scared. I wondered if we should stop sending him to school," he recalls.

Surinder is just one of thousands of people who've seen the ugly side of loan recovery process.

Blame it on over-aspiring consumers who borrow more than they can return or overzealous lenders who then bend the rules to recover their debts, the paranoia continues.

This corporate tactic has also turned deadly with a spate of suicides. Two weeks ago Prakash Sarvankar of Mumbai, harassed by ICICI Bank's recovery agents, was forced into taking the extreme step.

For the likes of Lucky and others in his league, it's just another job. "I feel bad about my job. But if I don't do it, someone else will," he says.

Gandhi may be stamped on the currency banks lend, but there's nothing Gandhian about the way they go about recovering it.

(Source: www.ibnlive.com)

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Thanks

Regards

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