Reacting to the news of monetary penalty of Rs 40 lakh imposed by RBI on Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Bank Managing Director Dr. Pankaj Lalit admitted the omission on the part of the bank and said, “We failed to report the fraud to the Nabard on time, which forced RBI to impose penalty on us”.
The MD who took over in 2018– much after the incident of fraud, was candid enough to share how the money was defrauded by a few unscrupulous elements of the bank.
Talking to Indian Cooperative, MD said, “The frauds were done at the branch levels where managers sanctioned loans violating the norms of Nabard and RBI. The loan amount was to the tune of Rs 3.72 crore and the incidents relate to 2013-2017”.
“The bank had also taken action against the branch managers who were involved in the fraud. We have also lodged FIR against the managers but there was a delay in reporting it to the Nabard. According to guidelines, after fraud detection we have to report to Nabard within three weeks but we failed to do so”, he asserted.
Lalit said “As I have taken over the charge of the bank in 2018, I reported the cases without losing time. There are 8 cases in total and RBI has imposed Rs 5 lakh fine on each one. The fraud was done in five branches of the bank including Sangrah, Kholighat, Bum, Trifalghat and Harnora branches”, Lalit informed.
Besides, our bank is on a growth path and all activities are going on well. The total deposits of the bank is Rs 12k crore and loaning is of about Rs 7200 crore. The gross NPA and Net NPA of the bank is 8.19 percent and below 5 percent respectively.
The bank has earned a net profit of over Rs 50 crore. HPSCB has 241 online branches and has a network of 87 ATMs located in 6 districts.
“The bank’s objective is to offer financial products and services suiting the requirements of people. We try to cater to all categories of customers. Personalized services and a sense of accountability are stressed on in the Bank. We also deploy use of latest technology facilitating anywhere and anytime banking”, said Lalit who belongs to Himachal State Services.
It bears recall that last year in December, the apex body of State Co-op Bank and DCCBs – Nafscob gave the award to HPSCB which was collected by bank’s Chairman Khushi Ram Balnatah and MD Pankaj Lalit. Interestingly, the award was given by Nabard Chairman Dr Govindra Chintala. And the same Nabard has faulted it for the omission!