Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 30 September 2022 4.34 AM IST

Foreclosure, a killer rope


Kerala Bank, the state's own bank, which was started with the main objective of meeting the financial needs of the common man, has also been directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a 20-year-old college student. The suicide of Sooranad South native Aji Kumar's daughter Abhirami once again makes us think about the humane approach that banks should take in dealing with foreclosure proceedings.

It is an indispensable requirement for banks to recover the loaned money. Along with this, the procedures to be followed before the attachment of property must be properly followed. The bank authorities placed an attachment board showing that Abhirami's house and land belonged to Kerala Bank due to default in repayment of a ten lakh rupees loan taken three years ago. They placed a fairly large board on the tree in front of the house so that everyone passing can see it at a glance. The family members saw the board when they returned after attending their relative's funeral. Abhirami went inside her room and committed suicide when her father and mother went to the bank to request the authorities to remove the board. Sources said that the girl was very much hurt after seeing the attachment board. It is high time to think about why not avoid placing boards like this, which destroys the entire dignity of the household due to loan arrears. Everyone knows that the present government very well understands the hardships of the common man and has taken many measures for their welfare. However, it is highly unethical for the same government's own bank to take such inhumane action when the government is in power.

It should be remembered that Kerala Bank's Patharam branch came up with the foreclosure board when the one-time settlement scheme announced by the government in the loan arrears issue was about to end in two weeks. Usually, the banks resort to foreclosure proceedings when the loan cannot be repaid in any way. Even when there is a law that foreclosure can occur as soon as arrears are due, the banks try to give as much time as possible before they resort to foreclosure proceedings. The government's stated policy is not to evict anyone from their homes through foreclosure. Then the question arises as to why the Kerala Bank authorities resorted to such an action. Some are claiming that the foreclosure board was installed symbolically. However, it appears that the authorities deliberately tried to insult the family by placing such a large board in front of the house instead of handing over a notice in writing to the family. Moreover, under which law is the bank claiming that the land and house belong to the bank and those who trespass there are punishable even before the actual foreclosure takes place?

People take loans from financial institutions for various purposes. These financial institutions exist only if there are people to take loans. There are ways to recover loan defaults. The foreclosure proceedings only come at the last stage. There are many people in the state who gave up their lives after becoming helpless before the foreclosure. Every such incident reminds us of the need for a humane approach by financial institutions. Banks are more worried about the small amounts borrowed by ordinary people even as they are yet to get back the lakhs of crores borrowed by the bigshots.

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