In a bid to streamline practices and enhance customer satisfaction, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a directive to Regulated Entities (REs), including banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). This directive mandates the release of original movable and immovable property documents, as well as the removal of charges registered with any registry within 30 days of full loan repayment or settlement.
The RBI’s directive aligns with the Fair Practices Code guidelines issued to REs since 2003, emphasizing the importance of releasing property documents upon full repayment and closure of loan accounts. The move aims to address the discrepancies in practices observed among REs, which have often led to customer grievances and disputes.
Under the new directive, borrowers will have the option to collect their original property documents either from the branch where the loan account was serviced or from another office of the RE where the documents are available, based on their preference. The loan sanction letters issued after the effective date will specify the timeline and place for the return of these documents.
To ensure a systematic process in the event of the sole borrower’s or joint borrowers’ demise, REs are required to establish clear procedures for the return of property documents to legal heirs. These procedures must be made available on the REs’ websites, alongside other relevant policies and customer information.
The directive also addresses delays in releasing property documents. If REs fail to release these documents or file charge satisfaction forms with the relevant registry within 30 days after full repayment or settlement, they must communicate the reasons for the delay to the borrower. If the delay is attributable to the RE, the borrower is entitled to compensation at the rate of ₹5,000 for each day of delay.
In cases where property documents are lost or damaged, REs must assist borrowers in obtaining duplicate or certified copies, covering the associated costs and providing compensation of ₹5,000 per day. However, an additional 30-day period is allowed for REs to complete this procedure, with penalty calculation commencing after 60 days.
These directives will be applicable to all cases where the release of original property documents is due on or after December 1, 2023. The RBI’s move aims to foster responsible lending conduct among REs while ensuring a smoother and more transparent process for borrowers.
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