To offer greater convenience to customers and promote financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all banks to offer passbook facility to all its savings bank account holders. Explaining the need for pass books, RBI said there are a large number of small customers who do not have access to computers. As such, non-issuance of passbooks to such small customers would indirectly lead to their financial exclusion.
It has been observed that many banks had unilaterally discontinued issuing passbooks to savings bank account holders, resulting into great inconvenience to the account holders. For banks offering statement of account, they have been asked to issue monthly statement of accounts as against quarterly statement of accounts issued currently.
Banks have been advised to extend the facility of providing such passbooks or monthly statements without any additional cost. Highlighting the advantages of a passbook facility over statement of accounts, RBI said a passbook is a ready reckoner of transactions and is handy and compact and as such, is far more convenient to the small customer than a statement of account.
Further, issue of statement of accounts poses a threat of loss of statements in postal transit. It was also pointed out that ATM slips during the interregnum between two statements does not provide a satisfactory solution as full record of transactions is not available.
Also, use of statements requires the opening balance to be tallied with closing balance of last statement. Banking community explained that issuing of passbooks to customers would require upgradation of their technology systems to update the pass-books of their customers at regular intervals.
However, they did not voice any inconvenience in offering pass-book facility or monthly statement of accounts to customers. In a notification issued in the previous month, the apex bank had directed all the banks to ensure that full address and telephone number of the branch is invariably mentioned in the pass books or statement of accounts issued to account holders.