Gujarat bank that charges higher interest from tobacco chewers

"As a policy, we charge one per cent higher interest from loan seekers who happen to be tobacco chewers," Founder Chairman of Rajkot People's Cooperative Bank (RPCB) Shamji Khut told PTI.

"The bank's board had passed a resolution to this effect around two and a half years ago, and since then its in force," he said. "Till now only one customer has refused to take loan from us stating that I cannot quit tobacco chewing even if you charge me two per cent higher interest," Khut said.

Over a decade old bank in Rajkot district of Gujarat, RPCB since inception has a clause that empowers the management to terminate the services of employees who are found indulging in any kind of tobacco consumption. "The bank does not recruit any persons who has any kind of tobacco addiction. We at present have a strength of 74 employees," Khut said.

"As a rule we can terminate the service of an employee if he is found consuming tobacco in any form. Even a board of director has to submit his resignation if found consuming tobacco," Khut said.

The bank, with network of five branches in Rajkot district, has 30,000 customers, and total deposits of over Rs 96 crore. It has sought RBI's nod to open five new branches, one each in Jamnagar, Junagadh, Gondal, Morbi and Jasdan.

"During recruitment of staff, we will give preference to candidates who shun tobacco," Khut said adding nearly 30 persons shall be recruited for the proposed new branches.
Our 11 board of directors are also very much supportive of this anti-tobacco campaign, he added.

"I was inspired by my school teacher Jayant Acharya who was a firm believer that people without addiction are better performers in life than those who have addiction," Khut further said.

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