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BANK MANAGER COMMITS SUICIDE – WILL WE BOOK THE DEFAULTERS NOW?

MAnager

“Did you really want to die?”

“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”

“Then why do they do it?”

“Because they want to stop the pain.”

This quote by Tiffanie DeBartolo brings to fore the pain behind a suicide. Any death is painful, and more so if the death cuts short a life – a life which probably could have offered a lot more to this world.

In Mumbai yesterday, a Branch Manager of a nationalised bank committed suicide, by throwing himself in front of a train. He had a year of service left. The reason for suicide left me astonished. Apparently he committed suicide because a number of loans that he had given had turned delinquent. He was worried that a departmental enquiry would be held, which would strip him of all his retirement benefits. For a minute assuming that this is true (after all if he had made money on those loans why would he worry about retirement benefits) – who is then accountable for his death?

I have seen umpteen instances in the past, in my banking career, wherein under pressure of loan collectors customers have either committed suicide or threatened to commit suicide. In such cases its always been the bank which has borne the brunt. Regulators and law enforcers have always held the banking industry accountable for such deaths, and taken the concerned officer / bank to task. In fact one such death in Hyderabad formed the fulcrum of the plot in my book Devil in Pinstripes.

In this particular case, the equation changes. A Bank Manager has committed suicide because customers he lent money to have defaulted. Have refused to pay up. Who will be held accountable now? Will the law enforcers now go after the same defaulting customers and book them for abetment to suicide? Haven’t they pushed the Bank Manager over the hill, by consistently not paying up? Will they take these customers to task for forcing a bank officer to take the extreme step?  Sadly, I doubt if that would happen. Chasing a delinquent customer to pay, unfortunately,  is a bigger crime than not paying up on a loan.

In all this, my assumption is that the bank manager was genuinely a victim and not a perpetrator of what led to his ultimate demise. I just hope someone takes notice of these instances and builds enough deterrents in our legal and banking system, to prevent defaults. Hope a day would come when people defaulting on bank loans think, not twice but hundred times of the implications. Let this Bank Managers death not go in vain. May his soul RIP.

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6 replies »

  1. My view there are 2 sides of it,one i agree there should be strong laws for defaulters and feel extremely sad for all their families whose dear ones has committed suicide.2nd on bank folks,in the manner they sanction loans with under the table money,sometimes cant manage when people default and in realization they run or commit suicide. Loan sanction process has to strict and fair as well.

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  2. Assuming this officer did all that he did ‘over’ the table, it is impractical to assume his extreme step was only on account of non-recovery. Banks are well protected for NPAs, so are its staff, more so when it is a public-sector bank. The officer could have turned to his officers association who are ever-ready to mobilise a strike. He could have gone on a fasting highlighting unreasonable measures of recovery norms by the bank, and attracted media attention, quite easy these days.

    It is another matter altogether that when the bank makes money out of a loan, everything is common. But when the default happens, they pin-down the helpless officer and hold him solely responsible.

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  3. There are cases where the defaulter is an employee of a PSU/Govt. The banks can easily attach the salary, by taking up with the company where the employee works. But this is seldom done and the banks writes off the loan. This only emboldens other employees to do the fraud. Now a days, PAN No. is required to open an account, It can easily be traced, which banks the defaulter is having accounts. Sometimes banks are hesistant to take action because the defaulter happens to be a lady employee!!.

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  4. Hi Ravi, thanks for sharing this heart wrenching news. It is very sad and unfortunate. The victim has found an end to his pain by committing suicide, but what he is also doing is opening a pain filled life for his dependent family members. The Banking fraternity should take more courage and face the challenges. What one could look at is a forum , a help line maybe to address and help such victims going through the harrowing professional situations.

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