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Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Old Jun 29th 2013, 7:32 am
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Default Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

I asked at Axis, Candolim branch yesterday why my NRO account was showing frozen status when I checked online.

Was told RBI had given a directive that ALL such accounts in the name of foreigners were being automatically frozen at expiry date of Tourist Visa.

This was an account I'd originally opened with UTI (taken over by Axis) on a Resident permit. Axis had advised me last year to close the UTI account and to open this new account with Axis. I have been receiving interest with Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and received a 2012-2013 Tax Statement from Axis a couple of months ago.

I asked to close the account and refund my balance but was told this was not possible.

Two options were offered:

1) Ask RBI permission to repatriate the balance, "documentation submitted must be complete or 150 questions will be asked of you".

2)Close account and ask RBI special permission to allow Axis branch to refund the balance in rupees in person since the amount is "small". Repeated questioning about how long this would take was deflected with vague and irrelevant non answers.

This is all very strange since I have a ICICI account which receives money2india transfers, has an international debit card, cheque book and is fully operational i.e. NOT FROZEN.

Axis' explanation is that ICICI are an international bank....twaddle.
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Old Jun 29th 2013, 9:39 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by babu1 View Post
I asked at Axis, Candolim branch yesterday why my NRO account was showing frozen status when I checked online.

Was told RBI had given a directive that ALL such accounts in the name of foreigners were being automatically frozen at expiry date of Tourist Visa.

This was an account I'd originally opened with UTI (taken over by Axis) on a Resident permit. Axis had advised me last year to close the UTI account and to open this new account with Axis. I have been receiving interest with Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and received a 2012-2013 Tax Statement from Axis a couple of months ago.

I asked to close the account and refund my balance but was told this was not possible.

Two options were offered:

1) Ask RBI permission to repatriate the balance, "documentation submitted must be complete or 150 questions will be asked of you".

2)Close account and ask RBI special permission to allow Axis branch to refund the balance in rupees in person since the amount is "small". Repeated questioning about how long this would take was deflected with vague and irrelevant non answers.

This is all very strange since I have a ICICI account which receives money2india transfers, has an international debit card, cheque book and is fully operational i.e. NOT FROZEN.

Axis' explanation is that ICICI are an international bank....twaddle.
Just another problem now on my list of things !! Dear God start climbing the health ladder, leaving what to do with the Apartment, and now this. Anyway health issues more important, might just have to walk away from everything. Just one thing after another. Wish I had spent my money on my short break last season.
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Old Jun 29th 2013, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

every couple of years now you have to re-submit your details (can't for the life of me remember what they called it), I have just done it with my bank, i think it must be a new thing as my account has been dormant for 7 years or so I think I was quite lucky to get it done at the right time.
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Old Jun 29th 2013, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by poipleshadow View Post
every couple of years now you have to re-submit your details (can't for the life of me remember what they called it), I have just done it with my bank, i think it must be a new thing as my account has been dormant for 7 years or so I think I was quite lucky to get it done at the right time.
They call it KYC . (Know your customer). I had to do it a few months back. Even my friend who is PIO had to do it with Axis bank.
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 12:10 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by msj5 View Post
They call it KYC . (Know your customer). I had to do it a few months back. Even my friend who is PIO had to do it with Axis bank.
even my Goan houseboy had to do it - his bank wouldn't even accept inward remittances until it was done, since then it's been fine.

AndyD 8-)
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by a_f_d View Post
even my Goan houseboy had to do it - his bank wouldn't even accept inward remittances until it was done, since then it's been fine.

AndyD 8-)
Hope this is all it is, can't face any more problems here or in Goa.
J5 has been saying this would happen for ages ! Perhaps his crystal ball (s) were right - hope not.
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 12:42 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by noni View Post
Hope this is all it is, can't face any more problems here or in Goa.
J5 has been saying this would happen for ages ! Perhaps his crystal ball (s) were right - hope not.
I suppose there is some sense to them closing NRO accounts for people on T visas - as we all know, if you have property in India you aren't technically entitled to a T visa you should get an X - although the rules and practicalities for that are far from clear, and resident bank accounts aren't that easy to open.
To be realistic this is just the last in a long line of anti-foreigner moves by the Indian authorities, but if it's any consolation a leading financier said last week that India is failing due to Indian Business and Indian money is going abroad because of the insufferable bureaucracy and corruption they suffer at home.

AndyD 8-(#
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 2:08 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

chin up noni!
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 8:26 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by a_f_d View Post
even my Goan houseboy had to do it - his bank wouldn't even accept inward remittances until it was done, since then it's been fine.

AndyD 8-)
OH having difficulty just transferring a NRO account from Panjim branch to another branch of SVC bank.
Yes KYC new rule is universal, brother- inlaw helping with above telephoned, he has had to fill in the form, been with the bank 50 years!!
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

This is NOT Know Your Customer (KYC). I did all that in May last year when I made a cash deposit, what a hassle that was having to prove where I had acquired this pittance of rupees!

This, I was told at Axis, is ALL NRO accounts have been frozen on central order of RBI and automatically on termination date of Tourist Visa.

I only left the country this year for 30 days and am back on a new 6 month T Visa, but that isn't enough to unfreeze the account.

They can't give a date for if or when I shall be refunded my balance which opens the door to corruption by misappropriation of frozen funds at branch or central level.

Nice one RBI, I'm pulling my 'big money' out of ICICI now (foreign exchange; FDI of a sort) in case they do the same, and I'll be bringing future money in GBP cash to change on the 'black'. I have therefore been forced out of 'normal banking channels'.
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 1:52 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by babu1 View Post
This is NOT Know Your Customer (KYC). ..... I have therefore been forced out of 'normal banking channels'.
Can you get a resident account? - looks like you will have to deal with RBI anyway, so ask them (I did, and got a letter to my bank with the typically ambiguous statement that they 'may' convert my account to resident - in practice it meant opening a completely new account).

AndyD 8-)
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 2:27 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

So, did you then apply and obtain a Resident account?

I'm going to try and clarify the status of my account at ICICI branch why they haven't yet frozen it when Axis have. Though, I'm wary of stirring things up there, don't fix when not broken.

It would have been decent business practice if Axis had given forewarning of account being frozen, I'm registered for email and internet banking with them.

Speaking to a seemingly wealthy NRI the other day who said he wouldn't extend his business interests in India because of corruption and lack of rule of law. I had been trying to sell him the idea that India is a land of opportunity for NRIs.
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Old Jun 30th 2013, 11:06 pm
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

Originally Posted by babu1 View Post
So, did you then apply and obtain a Resident account?....
yes

AndyD 8-)

P.S.
http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/FAQview.aspx?id=30

Q.7. Can foreign nationals resident in India open resident account?

A. Yes. Foreign nationals resident in India can open and maintain a resident Rupee account in India in terms of Notification No.5/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 viz., Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time.
P.P.S Ask Axis Bank for a copy/ full reference for this alleged RBI directive to close NRO accounts.

Last edited by a_f_d; Jun 30th 2013 at 11:17 pm.
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Old Jul 1st 2013, 3:51 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

How did they know when your visa expired?
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Old Jul 1st 2013, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Axis Freeze NRO Foreigner Bank Accounts

I was told the information was "centrally stored" which doesn't make any sense since the bank don't know what visa I'm on, that would have to be correlated with immigration.

Although when I did KYC last May 2012 they took a visa and passport xerox and I'm on my second T visa renew since then so it was probable that I left India.

Or maybe they just did a trawl of NRO accounts at their branch and froze some to show good intent to RBI. Several banks were in the news last month with hefty RBI fines for not complying with KYC.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/b...w/20532180.cms

Anyway, ICICI today confirmed that my account there is a Resident Account for the moment, based on my last showing a Resident permit some years ago.

At the next KYC, which should be every 2 years, I'll be told to close the Resident Account (unless I miraculously have a Resident Permit) and open a Foreign Exchange Account. This will have a cheque book and Debit Card ( use in India only) and will only accept remittances of foreign exchange to rupees.

So, if I sell a vehicle, household possessions, house or come by rupees by any other means than inward remittance I won't be able to bank it, or that's what I understood.

Customer service is typically dismissive and incomprehensible, and these are companies who are making an effort to raise their standards
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