Saturday, March 25, 2017

RTGS/NEFT to remain open on all days from March 25, 2017 to April 1, 2017

              RTGS and NEFT are the two major Payment Systems in India. Reserve Bank of India, vide Notification No RBI/2016-17/257 DPSS.CO.CHD.No./2695/03.01.03/2016-17 dt. March 25, 2017, has informed to public at large that RTGS and NEFT would operate, as on a normal working day, during the period March 25 to April 1, 2017.

              It may be noted that RTGS and NEFT will function as usual on Saturday, Sunday and all holidays.

              Holidays between March 25, 2017 and April 1, 2017

March 25, 2017 – 4th Saturday

March 26, 2017 – Sunday

March 29, 2017 – Ugadi

April 1, 2017 – Annual closing of Reserve Bank of India Accounts

Besides, March 30 & 31, 2017 there will be extended working hours for the centralised payment systems viz., RTGS & NEFT. The extended timings have already been a advised to the respective member banks via a broadcast message. 

Please contact your banks Customers Care Centre for additional details. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mera iMobile set to attract rural Indians into Safe Digital Banking – 11 Unique Features

              One of the most innovative features of ICICI Banks Mera iMobile roll-out is the 700 + Wi-Fi posters which will adorn ICICI rural branches. These Wi-Fi posters will enable Mera iMobile users to access the internet features of Mera iMobile from ICICI Bank Branches.

              ICICI Bank iMobile and ICICI Bank Mera iMobile are independent Apps and both the apps can reside on the user’s Mobile phone.

11 Unique features of Mera iMobile:

Unique feature 01) Available in 11 Indian languages i.e  Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Bengali, Assamese Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam.

Unique feature 02) Most of the iMobile features are available in all the regional languages

Unique feature 03) 17 SMS based services can be used without internet, for eg; Banking and non-banking services like balance enquiry, last 3 transactions, credit card balance, send money, recharges & cheque book services. User need not login to the APP too.

Unique feature 04) The ‘Select Language’, option can be used anytime to change the user’s preferred language. The user is not tied to any particular language.  

Unique feature 05) Users can avail other important services like Kisan Credit Card, Gold Loan, Farm Equipment loan and SHG-Retail Loans under Cards & Loans section.

Unique feature 06) Users have real time location wise Agriculture Advisory related services i.e Mandi Prices and Weather information.

Unique feature 07) Specialty calculators for Gold Loan & Kisan Credit Card in addition to existing iMobile calculators

Unique feature 08) Users can block/unblock your Debit Card/Credit Card using Mera iMobile App

Unique feature 09) Connect directly to ICICI Bank Phone Banking Officer from your mobile phone application

Unique feature 10) NPCI UPI services are available in 12 languages

Unique feature 11) Option to complete a transaction superfast via Favorite feature. By tagging a transaction as favorite, users can quickly access and complete your transactions like mobile recharge, bill payment or fund transfer

Complete suite of Services:

Ø  Mera iMobile is currently available only for Retail Customers and offers almost 130+ services across categories.

Ø  Retail Banking Services: Mera iMobile offers almost 100+ regular financial & non-financial banking services like fund transfer, recharges, bill payment, general insurance etc.

Ø  Agri Banking: These are specialised services available under Cards & Loans section where 8+ rural banking services are offered like Gold Loan, Tractor Loan, Kisan Credit Card, SHG-Retail etc.

Ø  Agri Advisory Services: The prominent non-banking services section of Mera iMobile offers rural advisory services of current mandi prices & real-time weather information.

Ø  SMS Banking (Non-Data): This segment offers almost 17 SMS based banking and non-banking services like balance enquiry, last 3 transactions, credit card balance, send money, recharges & cheque book services. The services under this segment can be availed without internet and logging to the app also is not required.

Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank said,
“At ICICI Bank, we believe in investing in innovative technology much ahead of its time. In line with this philosophy, ICICI Bank has pioneered many innovative solutions for its customers like internet, mobile, Tab and ‘Touch Banking’ branches among others. Today, India has the second largest - internet user base and smartphone market globally. We envisage that the next wave of growth in internet usage will come from rural India due to growth in cheaper smartphone handsets, spread of wireless networks and evolving consumer behaviour”.

              As on date, the APP had 5,000 + downloads and in the next six months the target is to have 5 million downloads.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

5 Takeaways from McDonald’s purported data leakage

              Fast food aficionados all over India tend to splurge on McDonalds menu either through in-store mode or home-delivery mode.

              The preferred mode for home-delivery is the McDelivery APP.

              McDonalds operates in India through two separate entities i.e one for North &  East India and another for West &  South India. 

              The welcome screen on requests the user to choose his/
her area. Clicking on either link will take the user to independent web-screens.

              The North & East footprint is with ‘Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited’, led by Mr. Vikram Bakshi, JV Partner and Managing Director, North & East India

The South & West India footprint is with ‘Hardcastle Restaurants Private Limited,’ led by Ms. Smita Jatia, Managing Director, South & West India

              Hence, there are separate McDelivery Apps for North &  East India and West &  South India.

              According to a blog post published by Cybersecurity firm Fallible , "an unprotected publicly accessible API endpoint for getting user details coupled with serially enumerable integers as customer IDs can be used to obtain access to all users personal information."

              The data leakage was through McDonald's India app McDelivery for West & South India. The data leaked personal information of its customers for an unspecified duration of time. This included "name, email address, phone number, home address, accurate home co-ordinates, and social profile links" for "more than 2.2 million" of its users.

              As customers in North and East of India use another app and website,  their data doesn't seem to be impacted by this leak.

              As of now, McDonald has not issued any Press Statement on its website i.e @

              However, an official spokesperson for McDonald's India (West & South), the company that owns and operates the McDelivery app, sent the following statement to Gadgets 360:

              “We would like to inform our users that our website and app does not store any sensitive financial data of the users like credit card details, wallets passwords or bank account information. The website and app has always been safe to use, and we update security measure on regular basis. As a precautionary measure, we would also urge our users to update the McDelivery app on their devices”.

      Takeaway 01) Login through a new-sign up only, do not log-in through social medial user accounts i.e Facebook or Google Plus

              Takeaway 02) Opt to sign-out if your interaction with the APP is less than 3 times a month. Instead create a fresh User ID, if you intend to interact with the APP, less than 3 times a month.

Takeaway 03) Use the ‘Contact Us’, option to let the APP Administrator to disable your account, if you do not use for 3 months. If you have not used the APP for 3 months, it means your need to have an account with the APP is minimal.

              Takeaway 04) Consider opting for deliveries through Aggregator APPs rather than Individual restaurant APPs. Of course, it is assumed that Aggregator APPs are more secure as compared to Individual restaurant APPs

Takeaway 05) Take calculated risks; Nothing is safe in this world

                            Recently McDonalds has embarked on a major branding exercise with its ‘Experience of the Future’ restaurant’s (EOTF) being launched in India. The first EOTF will be in Mumbai.

              McDonalds is looking for - AGM Information Technology (Consumer Facing Technology).

              One of the major KRAs is – “Drive online delivery and restaurant process improvement, integration with ecosystem partners (food aggregators, delivery, payment providers)”

              By the way I always enjoy McDonald’s menu at the store only, so have not downloaded the McDelivery App!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 takeaways from Bank of Maharashtra INR6.4 crs UPI fraud

              As reported in newspapers Bank of Maharashtra has filed an FIR against 50 people for illegally pulling money using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and causing a loss of Rs 6.14 crore to the financial institution.

              Bank of Maharashtra filed the FIR on March 8th.

The accused (in many cases their own accounts held with Bank of Maharashtra) used the UPI app to "collect" money from the accounts of the bank's customers, which did not even have requisite balance. They exploited a bug or a loophole in the bank's UPI app developed by Mumbai-based IT Solution Provider.

Few of the accused immediately transferred money received into another bank accounts through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) channel.

It seems this was a well thought strategy, as few accused seemed to have procured mobile SIM cards for these transactions as most of the numbers are now switched off.

The 50 accused persons (possibly un-related to each other) started sending "receive (transfer) money" requests in batches of up to Rs 1 lakh each over a period of 48 days, beginning December 1, 2016, to accounts held with BoM through UPI.

When the UPI app received the query and customers accepted the request, the app checked with the backend to see if there were funds in the accounts linked to UPI. When the bank's software noticed insufficient funds in most cases, it sent out a message citing so.

The app sent forth two messages to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). One message read "success" and the second message read "error: insufficient funds".

NPCI — the clearing agency for online transactions in case of UPI — read only the first message automatically and gave a green signal. As a result, BoM's pool account with the RBI was deducted about 672 times over a period of 48 days.

The gap was flagged to the IT Solution Provider by Bank of Maharashtra on January 18, 2017 and the IT Solution Provider immediately plugged the gap.

However by than a damage of INR6.4 crores was already done.

Investigation by Bank of Maharashtra IT Team and the IT Solution Provider is still on for the root cause.

This Post is only to highlight the vulnerabilities of Digital Banking and to encourage stakeholders to have strong audit mechanisms.

Any laxity in controls will have disastrous results. 

Takeaway 01) --- Test cases for all possible scenarios to be published and tested for the particular product

Takeaway 02) --- Multiple rounds of testing to be done by different teams to ensure no miss-outs

Takeaway 03) --- Product Rollout to be done to internal teams and teams to be encouraged to put in a good number of transactions. This minimises surprises after the actual roll-out.

Takeaway 04) --- Manual monitoring of the transactions associated with the Product at least for a couple of weeks after the launch to avoid any surprises.

Takeaway 05) --- The most important, tallying of all the associated Accounts should be done on a daily basis.  

Will this incident be covered under Insurance Policy??

Bank of Maharashtra celebrated its 82nd Business Commencement Day on February 8. As part of the festivities, the bank launched a prepaid card for its customers. The card, launched in partnership with RuPay, will offer an alternative to cash transactions, promoting the adoption of digital economy.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ESAF Small Finance Bank Limited commences operations – Free Skype Calls

ESAF Small Finance Bank Limited has commenced operations as a small finance bank with effect from March 10, 2017.

ESAF Microfinance and Investments Private Limited, Chennai was one of the ten applicants which were issued in-principle approval for setting up a small finance bank, as announced in the Reserve Bank of India press release on September 16, 2015.

ESAF journey to a Small Finance Bank started in November 2014, when Reserve Bank of India issued guidelines for ‘Licensing of Small Finance Banks in India’.

The current tag line of ESAF Small Finance Bank is ‘The first small finance bank from Kerala’.

It is in process of recruiting Senior Management for the final commercial launch.              The latest openings of ESAF Small Finance Bank can be viewed @

ESAF applied for the final licence in July 2016 and Reserve Bank of India issued the final licence in November 2016.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, will launch ESAF Small Finance Bank on March 17, 2017.

In the same week, ESAF will also begin its year-long silver jubilee celebrations.

It has also aimed at expanding its total number of branches to 500 and increasing its customer base to one crore. ESAF currently has a network of 285 branches spread over 11 states. Of this 104 branches are in Kerala.

"All our current branches will be converted to customer service centres and 85 retail branches will be opened in the first year. We have got approval to open 39 while another 17 are pending approval with RBI. We will expand footprints to north eastern states starting with Assam and to the metros,’’ K Paul Thomas, the founder and executive director of ESAF Microfinance said at a news conference.

Of the new branches, 25% will have to be opened in unbanked regions. ESAF has identified ten such places in Kerala.

As part of the marketing strategy, the bank will use its agents` network to facilitate operation.  “We plan to have 10,000 agents in next five years who will function as human ATMS going to the doorsteps of the customers for services,’’ Thomas said.

As a key differentiator, ESAF Small Finance Bank will also provide free Skype calls for the customers at retail branches.

In the pipeline are new schemes such as Hridaya social deposits targeting high networth individuals and NRIs. The customers of the scheme can choose from sectors like agriculture, housing, education and micro enterprises to invest their deposited money. The minimum deposit will be Rs 15 lakh,’’ Thomas said.

ESAF has invested around Rs 20 crore so far in IT. FIS Global has been engaged as the system integrator for the project and E&Y as the principal consultant for the banking transformation.

K Paul Thomas, who is the chairman of the ESAF group, will be the bank's MD & CEO


Saturday, March 4, 2017

State Bank of India is looking for ‘Chief Ethics Officer’ - 7 Applicants shortlisted

          State Bank of India is one of few financial institutions in the world which has a full-time CEO. In this case, CEO does not stand for ‘Chief Executive Officer’, but ‘Chief Ethics Officer’.

          Towards the end of January 2017,  State Bank of India, General Manager(CRPD, Mumbai) released as advertisement seeking applications for ‘Chief Ethics Officer’, on contract basis in State Bank of India.

          The Chief Ethics Officer will lead the Ethics and Business Conduct Department of State Bank of India.

The Chief Ethics Officer will be placed at the rank of Chief General Manager.

He/She  will report to the Managing Director (Compliance and Risk) of  State Bank of India. the Bank.

The applicants should  possess proven leadership qualities, with wide experience in the field of Corporate Governance.

Preference will be given to candidates with Banking and / or Financial Service sector background. However, candidates associated in propagation of Culture of Ethics in a large organization may also be engaged.

 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The primary responsibility of the Chief Ethics Officer would be to oversee the Ethics and Conduct Programme in the Bank with the objective of anchoring and promoting a positive ethical culture in the organization leading to enhancement in brand equity and market reputation.

7 Applicants  have been selected for the Interview on 06/03/2017.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

RBI imposes penalty of Rs5 lacs, on The Rajsamand Urban Co-operative Bank Limited, Rajsamand

          Reserve Bank of India vide Press Release dt. March 1, 2017 informed to public at large, that it has imposed a monetary penalty of ₹ 5.00 lakh (₹ Five lakh only) on the The Rajsamand Urban Co-operative Bank Limited, Rajsamand.

The monetary penalty was for violation of RBI instructions / guidelines relating to

(i)             Linking of share capital to borrowings
(ii)            Breach of prescribed individual borrower exposure limit
(iii)           Granting  unsecured loans beyond prescribed limit and allowed frequent OD in a CC account beyond prescribed limit
(iv)           Acquisition of non-banking asset.

Rajsamand is famous for its marble production and has the distinction of having the largest single marble production unit in India.

Other famous places of tourist interest inn Rajsamand are Kumbhalgarh - the birth place of Maharana Pratap, Haldighati the famous battlefield, Shrinathji the chief deity of Vaishnav religion, Dwarikadheesh, Charbhuja and many Shiv temples.

The city is named for Rajsamand Lake, an artificial lake created in the 17th century by Rana Raj Singh of Mewar. 

TReDS settlements to be routed through NPCI NACH Module

          The success of NACH Module has led to introduction of one more product within the NACH Module.

          National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has vide Circular dt 21st December, 2016 informed its member banks that the TReDS settlements will be routed through its NACH Module.

          There are two phases in the rollout process.

          Phase I – The existing NACH system will be used for processing the TReDS transactions.

          Phase II – A TReDS utility will be plugged into the NACH Module.

          Phase I has been rolled out from January 02, 2017.

          The timelines for Phase II will be introduced in due course.

          File Format:
          Existing 306 file format will be used, however “TRE” will be part of the file format to differentiate between ACH files and TReDS files.
      The existing mandates will continued to be used, however a new mandate category i.e T002 is being introduced to differentiate between the mandate variants.

          As per Reserve Bank of India guidelines, the cap amount for T002 is set as Rs1crore.

      To bring in discipline amongst the participants, in TReDS process flow all the debit transactions that have not been responded by the destination banks will be treated as ‘Deemed Returns’, and the system will reverse the settlement done in presentation session.

          Brief introduction of TReDS: TReDS is a system used to secure finances for micro, small and medium enterprises. TReDS will serve as a platform to bring the stakeholders i.e MSME sellers, corporate buyers, financiers which include banks and non-banks, for discounting, trading and settlement of the Invoices.  

          The settlement involves Debit and Credit legs which have to be executed in the respective bank accounts. Hence, a settlement agency has an important role for success of TReDS.