RBI cautions Banks, publishing photographs of Wilful defaulters in newspapers, etc.

RBI cautions Banks to follow guidelines and formulate a consistent mechanism before publishing photographs of Wilful defaulters in newspapers, etc.

The RBI has cautioned Banks to formulate a mechanism which is neither discriminatory nor inconsistent, before publishing photographs of the wilful defaulters (borrowers/ guarantors) in newspaper, etc., as under:

RBI/2016-17/71 DBR.CID. BC. No.17/20.16.003/2016-17 September 29, 2016

1. Please refer to our Master Circular on Wilful Defaulters DBR.CID.BC.No.22/20.16.003/2015-16 dated July 1, 2015 inter alia outlining the penal measures that should be taken by lending institutions against the borrowers declared as wilful defaulters.

2. In this context, it has been observed that some lending institutions have been publishing the photographs of defaulters/ guarantors in newspapers. In view of the sensitivity involved and need to prevent the publishing of photographs of defaulting borrower/ guarantor in an indiscriminate manner, it has been decided as under:

(i) A lending institution can consider publication of the photographs of only those borrowers, including proprietors/ partners /directors / guarantors of borrower firms/ companies, who have been declared as wilful defaulters following the mechanism set out in the RBI instructions referred to above. This shall not apply to the non-whole time directors who are exempted from being considered as wilful defaulters unless the special conditions, in accordance with these instructions, are satisfied.

(ii) The lending institutions shall formulate a policy with the approval of their Board of Directors which clearly sets out the criteria based on which the decision to publish the photographs of a person covered in paragraph (i) above will be taken by them so that the approach is neither discriminatory nor inconsistent.

3. The lending institutions shall not publish photographs of any other defaulting borrowers.

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