Hefty bank balances make beggars choosers

Hefty bank balances make beggars choosers

Hefty bank balances make beggars choosers

They may be clad in torn clothes and come to you barefooted to beg for a coin or two, but know that many of them could be richer than you. They may also have bank accounts and their savings could be in lakhs.

According to a leading cooperative bank in the state capital, as many as 150 beggars of the city had savings account with it in which they had deposited lakhs of rupees. “They not only have savings account but also use the ATM cards and cheque book facilities,” said Pawan Kapoor, chief executive officer (CEO) of the bank, while speaking to Deccan Herald on Saturday.

Kapoor said that the beggars also make use of the mobile ATM services of the bank. “We take our van to a specific spot which is easily accessible to the beggars. They come there in large numbers and avail themselves of the facility,” he added.

The bank official said the beggars used to keep their money in the hands of “syndicates” (groups of people) or inside the ditches. “They did not earn anything on the money and sometimes it got stolen as well'', he pointed out.

Kapoor said the bank had to do make a lot of effort to persuade the beggars to open their accounts. “Initially they were very reluctant...but we kept on trying and at last a few of them agreed to open savings account...later on many others also followed them,” he said.

The beggars not only had savings account but also opened Recurring Account (RD) and had term deposits, Kapoor added.

He said the beggars deposited money on a daily basis. Obviously they beg throughout the day and also in the nights and then deposit the money the next day through one of the officers of the bank.

Kapoor said that there were around 700 beggars in the city and his bank was trying to expand its reach among them by approaching many others as well. “It is not a question of increasing business. There also is a social aspect behind it,” he pointed out.

The bank also provides loans to them to enable to start their own business. “Many beggars have now stopped begging and started their own small business,” he said. Hence, a coin that you drop in a beggar’s hands may well be an addition to his wealth.