Kozhikode: Bank officials visiting the houses of customers who had defaulted on loan repayments to attach their property is not uncommon and such incidents often cause much agony. However, a pleasantly surprising series of events followed such a visit in Kerala's Kozhikode district recently.
In this case, the bank officials not only desisted from serving the attachment notice, but also repaid the outstanding loan amount. Furthermore, the officials rebuilt the dilapidated house, where an elderly woman and her partially paralysed son lived, with their own money.
Five years ago Panalil Sasi of Vikas Nagar, Kappad North, availed a loan of Rs 50,000 from the State Bank of India (SBI) to start a bag-making unit by pledging his house, where he lived with his elderly mother.
However, Sasi soon suffered a stroke leaving him partially paralysed and he could not engage in bag-making to repay the loan. Having no other sources of income, Sasi was helped by the Chemanchery Grama Panchayat and Abhayam Palliative Care Society, which set up a small shop for him.
Meanwhile, the loan dues had mounted to Rs 70,000 and M Murahari, chief manager of SBI’s SME branch at Koyilandy, and other officials reached Sasi’s house to serve the attachment notice in February 2021.
There, they found the pathetic condition of the house and realized the pitiable situation of the family. Noticing that the house they were planning to take over did not even have a toilet facility, the chief manager asked Sasi’s mother how she carried out her basic needs. She told the official that every day they had to wait for the sun to set.
Moved by their plight, Murahari did not serve the attachment notice. Instead, he returned to the branch and explained the situation to his colleagues.
In March 2021, the bank conducted an adalat, where one-time settlement of loans was offered. At the event, Murahari and his colleagues repaid the outstanding amount of Sasi’s loan, which came to Rs 7,000 after exemptions, and freed the family from their debt.
The bank officials did not rest there. They decided to rebuild Sasi’s dilapidated house, for which more money was pooled. Many of the bank staff also reached Sasi’s house after their working hours and helped in the construction. Finally, Sasi and mother moved into a house with a new roof, concrete kitchen and an attached washroom.