Help Women Pay Off Home Loans: Stop Banks From Looting Them #ScrapTheTrap

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My friend Arpana* learned that her husband had been having an affair 15 years into their marriage. One can’t imagine how testing this period has been for her.

She has not been working full-time for close to 2 years and was constrained to quit due to organization restructuring without an alternative income. And if the divorce proceedings and the responsibility of raising a school-going child all by herself weren’t hard enough, the final misery she had to deal with was the home loan.

Home finance companies have one modus operandi: they lure women borrowers with the promise of a lower rate of interest. But in reality, they end up ruining their financial wellbeing permanently with a floating interest rate whirlwind for decades.

One doesn’t have to be an expert to know that this initial rate cut serves the home finance company’s revenue agenda more than it serves women’s interests, as the rate soon shoots up subject to market and bank’s internal strategy.

It is time this exploitation of women home loan borrowers stops. I want to make sure that no more women suffer like my friend Arpana to choose between using her funds to save her house or her daughter’s future. The reason I am focusing on women is that surveys and reports indicate that the average size of home loans for women borrowers is higher than that of men. Join me!

Sign my petition. I’m asking the Reserve Bank of India to intervene and direct home finance companies to protect women home loan borrowers in the following 4 ways:

1.   Banks must develop women-friendly options with a cap in floating rate interest. Why give concessional rate and then shoot it up to usual market ecosystem?

2.   Banks and their subsidiaries must adhere to published norms for effective communication regarding rate of interest changes, offers, schemes and share across channels – phone, mail and courier (With valid consignment number and borrower’s acknowledgement)

3.  Banks should ensure that they guide women home loan borrowers to the appropriate authorities as per the escalation matrix published on their website. This will ensure that norms for complaint resolution are adhered, to promote transparency and protect every borrowers financial interests.

4.   Publish internal Banking Ombudsman phone number (IVR) who is passing resolutions to question awards and encourage transparency.

Most importantly, if these financing companies fail to meet basic communication, escalation and resolution standards, they should be bound to compensate the borrower suitably.

Sign and share my petition and ask the RBI Governor and Ministry to bring necessary regulation in place to commit to women-friendly home loan schemes

It’s high time we #ScrapTheTrap #SaveHerNest

(Image for representation.) Credit: DNA News

(*Name change to protect identity and privacy)