News Excerpt
State-owned Bank of Baroda said it will provide an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of business correspondents (BCs) in case of loss of life due to COVID-19. It will also provide health insurance cover of Rs 60,000 to the BCs.

Pre-Connect
Banking Correspondents (BCs) are individuals/entities engaged by a bank (commercial banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Local Area Banks (LABs)) for providing banking services in unbanked / under-banked geographical territories. A banking correspondent works as an agent of the bank and substitutes for the brick and mortar branch of the bank.


Functions of BCs    Following individuals/entities as BCs
    Identification of borrowers;
    Collection and preliminary processing of loan applications including verification of primary information/data;
    Creating awareness about savings and other products and education and advice on managing money and debt counselling;
    Processing and submission of applications to banks;
    Promoting, nurturing and monitoring of Self Help Groups/ Joint Liability Groups/Credit Groups/others;
    Post-sanction monitoring;
    Follow-up for recovery,
    Disbursal of small value credit,
    Recovery of principal / collection of interest
    Collection of small value deposits
    Sale of micro insurance/ mutual fund products/ pension products/ other third party products and
    Receipt and delivery of small value remittances/ other payment instruments.        Individuals like retired bank employees, retired teachers, retired government employees and ex-servicemen, individual owners of kirana (small shops) / medical /Fair Price shops, individual Public Call Office (PCO) operators, agents of Small Savings schemes of Government of India/Insurance Companies, individuals who own petrol pumps, authorized functionaries of well-run Self Help Groups (SHGs) which are linked to banks, any other individual including those operating Common Service Centres (CSCs);
    NGOs/ Microfinance Institutions set up under Societies/ Trust Acts or as Section 25 Companies ;
    Cooperative Societies registered under Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Acts/ Cooperative Societies Acts of States/Multi State Cooperative Societies Act;
    Post Offices;
    Companies registered under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 with large and widespread retail outlets
    Non-banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) were not allowed to be appointed as Business Correspondents (BCs) by banks. However, since June 2014 banks have been permitted to engage non-deposit taking NBFCs (NBFCs-ND) as BCs, subject to certain conditions:

•    While a BC can be a BC for more than one bank, at the point of customer interface, a retail outlet or a sub-agent of a BC shall represent and provide banking services of only one bank.
•    The banks will be fully responsible for the actions of the BCs and their retail outlets / sub agents.
•    In order to promote financial inclusion, the Government, in October 2015, exempted services provided by a business facilitator or a business correspondent to a bank with respect to Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts covered by Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) by way of account opening, cash deposits, cash withdrawals, obtaining e-life certificates and Aadhar seeding in the rural area branches of banking companies, from Service Tax.

PEPPER IT WITH
Financial Inclusion, White ATM, Brown ATM, Micro Finance Institutions, SHGs, NABARD

Highlights    
Bank of Baroda said to ensure maintenance of hygiene and safety, it is also providing additional support in tranches to keep the BC points sanitised and clean through sanitisers, disinfectants, use of masks and other measures.  In the first tranche, Rs 2,000 was provided to each active and functional BC in the month of April 2020.
    In May, each functional BC will be provided Rs 1,000 for hygiene maintenance. Further, the bank will pay an amount of Rs 100 per working day towards transportation as an incentive to the BCs to encourage them to extend their services from 10 am to 5 pm till June 30, 2020, (except where local level restrictions are imposed), subject to minimum 40 transactions
    They are the connect to the masses of India and a key part of the Bank’s efforts to deliver the benefits of the government’s financial package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, pension etc. During these challenging times, they have been working very hard and putting in every effort to ensure that funds reach the beneficiaries in time.

Conclusion
In recognition of their commitment and services as ‘Corona Warriors’ in the field, Bank of Baroda has taken these measures to safeguard their interests and for their welfare.