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KYC Policy

1. INTRODUCTION

The "Know Your Customer” (KYC) guidelines issued by the National Housing Bank aims at preventing the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) from being used intentionally or unintentionally by criminal elements for committing financial frauds, transferring or deposits of funds derived from criminal activity or for financing terrorism. Accordingly, the Company had prepared the policy on ‘Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering Measures’ which was applicable to all the Branches and duly complied with by all the Branch Managers, frontline staff, compliance staff and the staff dealing with the customers. The guideline being dynamic in nature was reviewed by National Housing Bank in light of subsequent developments including amendments in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act & Rules. As a consequence, the revised and amended Guidelines on “Know Your Customer” and “Anti Money Laundering Measures” have been provided for necessary approval and adoption. This amended policy document is in accordance with various guidelines issued by the National Housing Bank as also by our Company for proper identification of an account holder/ customer and for scrutiny/ monitoring of large value cash transaction or transaction of a suspicious nature.

1. OBJECTIVES OF KYC AND AML POLICY

  • To lay down explicit criteria for acceptance of customers.
  • To establish procedures to verify the bona-fide identification of individuals/ non individuals customers.
  • To establish processes and procedures to monitor high value cash transactions and /or transactions of suspicious nature.
  • To develop measures for conducting due diligence in respect of customers and reporting of such transactions.
  • To manage the risk.

2. DEFINITION OF CUSTOMER

For the purpose of KYC policy, a “Customer” will be defined as :

  • A person or entity that maintains an account and/or has a business relationship with the Company.
  • One on whose behalf the account is maintained (i.e. the beneficial owner);
  • Beneficiaries of transactions conducted by professional intermediaries such as Stock Brokers, Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Solicitors etc. as permitted under the law, and
  • Any person or entity connected with a financial transaction which can pose significant reputation or other risks to the Company, say a wire transfer or issue of a high value demand draft as a single transaction.

CUSTOMER ACCEPTANCE POLICY (CAP)

3. The Company will have to ensure that elaborate standard procedures are in place on the following aspects of customer relationships in HFCs.

  • No account is opened in anonymous or fictitious/benami name(s)
  • Obtaining comprehensive information depending on the perceived risk and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National Housing Bank regarding new customers at the initial stage
  • Ascertaining the volume of turnover, social and financial status, etc. to enable categorization of customers into low, medium and high risk
  • Collecting information and documents in respect of different categories of customers depending on perceived risk and keeping in mind the requirements of The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PML Act), 2002 and guidelines issued from time to time. The Company may apply enhanced due diligence measures based on the risk assessment, thereby requiring intensive ‘due diligence’ for higher risk customers, especially those for whom the sources of funds are not clear.

Examples of customers requiring higher due diligence may include :

  • non-resident customers,
  • high net worth individuals,
  • trusts, charities, NGOs and organizations receiving donations,
  • companies having close family shareholding or beneficial ownership,
  • firms with 'sleeping partners',
  • politically exposed persons (PEPs) of foreign origin,
  • non-face to face customers, and
  • Those with dubious reputation as per public information available, etc.
  • Taking appropriate steps to verify the identity and /or obtain documents required as per the risk categorization. The Company must refuse to open an account where the prospective customer does not co-operate with the Company in obtaining these details or where the Company is not sure about the reliability of the data furnished by the prospective customer.
  • Taking adequate steps to ensure that the identity of the customer does not match with any person with known criminal background or with banned entities such as individual terrorists or terrorist organizations, etc.
  • Preparation of a profile for new and existing customers based on risk categorization. The customer profile must contain information relating to the customer’s identity, social/financial status, nature of business activity, information about his clients’ business and their location, etc. The nature and extent of due diligence will depend on the risk perceived by the company. However, the seeking of such information must not be intrusive and the Company must not use such confidential information cross selling or any other purposes.
  • ensuring that circumstance in which a customer is permitted to act on behalf of another person / entity will be clearly spelt out in conformity with the established law and practice of housing sector as there could be occasions when an account is operated by a mandate holder or where an account is opened by an intermediary in the fiduciary capacity.
  • If the Company is unable to apply appropriate KYC measures due to non-furnishing of information and /or non-cooperation by the customer, the company may consider closing the account or terminating the business relationship after issuing due notice to the customer explaining the reasons for taking such a decision. Such decisions need to be taken at a reasonably senior level after consulting the Principal Officer.

4. The Company will devise a procedure for creating Risk Profiles of their new customers based on risk categorization. The Company will categorize the customers according to the risk perceived to facilitate undertaking due diligence for the purpose of risk categorization. The customer profile will contain amongst others information relating to the customers identity, social/ financial status, nature of business activity, information about the customers clients’ business and their location etc. Further, the company will seek information from its customers which is relevant for the loan and is in conformity to the guidelines. The customers profile with the company will remain a confidential document and the information shall not be divulged for cross selling or any other purpose.

5. The company shall categorize risk profile of individual customers into 3 (three) basic categories in order with the profile. The category along with the illustrative example are as below:

5. (i)  Low Risk

Low Risk individuals are those individuals (other than high net worth) and entities whose identities and sources of wealth can be easily identified and the transactions in whose accounts by and large conform to known profile. Low – risk customers will include

  • Salaried employees whose salary structures are well defined.
  • People belonging to lower economic strata of the society whose accounts show small balances and low turnover.
  • Government departments/ Govt. owned companies regulators and statutory bodies etc.

5. (ii) Medium Risk

The medium and high risk customers will be categorized on the basis of the customer’s background, nature and location of activity, country of origin, sources of funds and client profile. Medium Risk customers will include

  • Non- resident customers
  • high net worth individuals,
  • trust, charitable organizations, Non Govt. Organization (NGO) and organization receiving donations
  • Companies having closed family share holding or beneficial ownership.

5. (iii) High Risk

High risk customer will typically include

  • non-resident customers
  • high net-worth individuals
  • trusts, charities, NGOs and organizations receiving donations,
  • companies having close family shareholding or beneficial ownership,
  • firms with sleeping partners
  • politically exposed persons (PEPs) of foreign origin
  • non face to face to customers and
  • Persons with dubious reputation as per public information available.
  • Persons whose sources of income are not clear.

The Company will subject accounts of such customers to intensive due diligence

In the event of an existing customer subsequently becoming a PEP, the company will obtain necessary approval of the senior management to continue the business relationship with such person and if in the affirmative than the company to undertake enhanced monitoring at regular period, more descriptively stated in Annexure - 1.

7. The Company must undertake adequate steps to ensure that the implementation of this policy must not become too restrictive and must not result in denial of the Company’s services to general public, especially to those, who are financially or socially disadvantaged.

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURE

8. The company shall follow in letter and spirit the guidelines covered under Rule 9 of the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records of the Nature and Value of Transactions, The Procedure and Manner of Maintaining and Time for Furnishing information and Verification and Maintenance of Records of the Identity of the Clients of the Banking Companies, Financial Institutions and Intermediaries) Rules, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as PML Rules).

Customer identification means identifying the customer and verifying his/her identity by using reliable, independent source documents, data or information to the satisfaction of the company.

9. The true identity and bonafide of the existing customers and new potential customers opening accounts with the Company and obtaining basic background information would be of paramount importance

9(i) The Company will obtain sufficient identification data to verify

  • the identity of customer
  • his/her address/location and
  • his/her recent photograph.

9(ii) The customer identification will be through an introductory reference from an existing customer with a satisfactorily conducted account or a person known to the Company and on the basis of documents provided by the customer or through staff members knowing the potential customer or any other document from the indicative lists given in Annexure - 2 for identification and proof of residence.

9(iii) In addition to the above, the Company must also ask the applicants to give an additional document e.g. a letter from the employer giving the correct address, Bank Statement, credit card statement etc. In case of joint account, applicants who are not closely related to each other would be required to establish their identity and address independently.

9(iv) In respect of NRI accounts, introduction and authentication/ verification of signatures will be made by a bank/Indian embassy/ High Commissioner/ Consulate/ Notary Public/ Persons known to the Company.

9(v) For establishing identity or proof of residence Ration Card will normally not be used as document. However, in the event of non-availability of any other document, Ration Card may also be accepted as proof of residence from Minors/Illiterate persons or house wives etc. who are unable to produce other documents.

10. Accounts of Legal Persons or Entities

10 (i) The Company must verify the legal status of the legal person/ entity through proper and relevant documents as indicated in the Annexure.

10 (ii) The Company must verify the identity of any person purporting to act on behalf of the legal person/entity and whether he/ she is so authorized and understand the ownership and control structure of the customer and determine who are the natural persons who ultimately control the legal person.

10 (iii) In case of client accounts opened by a professional intermediary the Company will not only identify the client / beneficial owner but also satisfy itself that the intermediary is regulated and supervised and has adequately system in place to comply with KYC norms.

10 (iv) The decision to open accounts of a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) will be taken only in consultation with the level of the respective Zonal Managers. The PEPs will be defined as individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions in a foreign country e.g. Heads of States or of Governments, Senior politicians, Govt./ Judicial/ Military officers, senior executives of State owned corporations, important political party officials etc.

10 (v) In the case of non-face-to-face customers, apart from applying the usual customer identification procedures, adequate care must be taken to mitigate the higher risk involved. Certification of all the documents presented must be insisted upon and, if necessary, additional documents may be called for.

10(vi) For various types of non individual the documents stated against their names in Annexure and any other documents/ introduction that the Company feels necessary to comply with KYC guidelines will be obtained for identification.

MONITORING OF TRANSACTIONS

11. The Company must pay special attention to all complex, unusually large transactions and all unusual patterns which have no apparent economic or visible lawful purpose. The Company must also have understanding of the normal and reasonable activity of the customer so that they have the means of identifying transactions that fall outside the regular pattern of activity in order to effectively control and reduce the risk. Transactions that involve large amounts of cash inconsistent with the normal and expected activity of the customer should be noted and must be reported to the Corporate Office.

High-risk accounts have to be subjected to intensified monitoring. The Company should put in place a system of periodical review of risk categorization of accounts and the need for applying enhanced due diligence measures. The Company should ensure that a record of transactions in the accounts is preserved and maintained as required in terms of section 12 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PML) Act, 2002. It may also be ensured that transactions of suspicious nature and/or any other type of transaction notified under section 12 of the PML Act, 2002, is reported to the appropriate law enforcement authority, within the stipulated time frame.

The Company must ensure that proper records of all cash transactions of Rs. 10 lakhs and above. The branches must report such transactions and other transactions of suspicious nature to the Corporate Office of the Company on a fortnightly basis.

The cash transactions will be monitored in the following manner :The transactions involving cash withdrawals and/ or cash deposits for Rs.10 lacs and above or Rupee equivalent in Foreign Currency in deposit or loan accounts as well as all series of cash transactions integrally connected to each other which have been valued below rupees ten lakh or its equivalent in foreign currency where such series of transactions have taken place within a month and the aggregate value of such transactions exceeds rupees ten lakh; will be monitored closely by the branches and the record of details of such transactions will be kept in separate register and must be reported to the Principal Officer.

Suspicious Transactions means a transaction whether or not made in cash which, to a person acting in good faith-

  • gives rise to a reasonable ground of suspicion that it may involve the proceeds of crime; or
  • appears to be made in circumstances of unusual or unjustified complexity; or
  • Appears to have no economic rationale or bonafide purpose.

All the transactions of suspicious nature, irrespective of any monetary ceiling (whether more than ten lakh or not), whether or not made in cash should be reported to the Principal Officer of the Company. The reporting formats of suspicious transactions are attached to the Circular No. NHB (ND)/DRS/ POL-No-14 /2006 dated July 25, 2006

RISK MANAGEMENT

12. The Company must ensure that adequate measures are taken to cover proper management oversight, systems and controls, segregation of duties, training and other related matters. Responsibility should be explicitly allocated within the Company for ensuring that the housing finance companies’ policies and procedures are implemented effectively. The Company must also devise procedures for creating Risk Profiles of their existing and new customers and apply various Anti Money Laundering measures keeping in view the risks involved in a transaction, account or business relationship.

The Company will categorize the customers according to the risk perceived to facilitate undertaking due diligence for the purpose of risk categorization. The details have already been mentioned under section 5 above.

13. The Internal Auditors of the Company must be well versed with the KYC policies and must ensure adherence to the KYC procedures. The Internal Auditors should verify the application of the KYC procedures at all the branches and comment on the lapses observed in this regard. The compliance of the KYC guidelines and the specific cases of violation must be put before the Audit Committee of the Board at regular intervals.

14. The Company must envisage having an ongoing employee training programme so that the members of the staff are adequately trained in KYC procedures. Training requirements will have different focuses for frontline staff, compliance staff and staff dealing with new customers. It is crucial that all those concerned fully understand the rationale behind the KYC policies and implement them consistently and effectively.

15. The Company must take adequate measures to educate the customer on the objectives of the KYC programme, especially at the time of obtaining sensitive or personal information from the customers Wherever the Company desires to collect any information about the customer for the purpose other than KYC requirement, it will not form part of the account opening form. Such information will be collected separately, purely on a voluntary basis in a form prescribed by the Company after explaining the objective to the customer and taking the customer’s express approval for the specific uses to which such information could be put. The front desk staff must be specially trained to handle such situations while dealing with customers The Company will also take care to see that implementation of the KYC guidelines in respect of customer acceptance, identification etc. do not result in denial of opening of new accounts and housing services to general public.

INTRODCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES

16. The Company must pay special attention to any threats that may arise from new or developing technologies in the implementation of the policy including on-line transactions that might favour anonymity, and take measures, if needed, to prevent their use in money laundering schemes.

APPLICABILITY TO BRANCHES AND SUBSIDIARIES OUTSIDE INDIA

17. The company shall ensure that the above guidelines shall also apply to the branches and majority owned subsidiaries located abroad, especially, in countries which do not or insufficiently apply the FATF Recommendations, to the extent local laws permit. When applicable laws and regulations prohibit implementation of these guidelines, the same shall be brought to the notice of National Housing Bank and RBI.

APPOINTMENT OF PRINCIPAL OFFICER

18. The Company has appointed Mr. Ashutosh Atre, National Credit Manager as the ‘Principal Officer’ designate who will be responsible for reporting all transactions and sharing of information. They will also be responsible to ensure that proper steps are taken to fix accountability for serious lapses and intentional contraventions of the KYC guidelines.

MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS OF TRANSACTIONS

19. The company shall continue the system of maintaining proper record of transactions as required under section 12 of the PMLA read with Rule 3 of the PML Rules.

20. The company shall continue to ensure that its branches maintain proper record of all cash transactions (deposits and withdrawals) of Rs.10 lakhs and above in the format prescribed by The National Housing Bank. The internal monitoring system should have an inbuilt procedure for reporting of such cash transactions and those of suspicious nature whether made in cash or otherwise, to the Principal Officer on fortnightly basis. However, there is no need to furnish NIL reports.

RECORDS TO CONTAIN THE SPECIFIED INFORMATION

21. The company shall ensure that the records referred in Rule 3 of the PML Rules contain the following information;

  • The nature of the transactions,
  • The amount of the transaction and the currency in which it was denominated,
  • The date on which the transaction was conducted and
  • The parties to the transaction.

MAINTENANCE AND PRESERVATION OF RECORDS

22. In accordance with Section 12 of PMLA, the company will take appropriate steps to evolve a system for proper maintenance and preservation of account information in a manner that allows data to be retrieved easily and quickly whenever required or when requested by the competent authorities. Further, the Company must also preserve and maintain all necessary records pertaining to the identification of the customer and his address (e.g. copies of documents like passports, identity cards, driving licenses, PAN, utility bills etc.) obtained while opening the account and during the course of business relationship for at least ten years from the date of cessation of transaction between the Company and the customer, so as to provide, if necessary, evidence for prosecution of persons involved in criminal activity.

REPORTING TO FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNIT - INDIA

23. The company as per the proviso of Section 12 of PMLA wherever it notices a reason to believe that a single transaction or series of transactions are integrally connected to each other and have been valued below the prescribed value so as to defeat the provisions of this section, will furnish to the Director, FIU such information/transaction after retaining a copy for records within the prescribed period at the following address:

Director, FIU – IND
Financial Intelligence Unit – India,
6th floor, Hotel Samrat,
Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi – 110021

24. The company assures to strictly comply with all formalities including timely submission of all applicable report and returns in the prescribed format with regards to cash & suspicious transaction qualifying under PML Rules directly to FIU-IND through the designated Principal Officer(s) of the company. However, as had been earlier advised, there is no need for submission of NIL report in respect to the above. Further, the company and its employees shall maintain strict confidentiality of the fact of furnishing/reporting details of suspicious transactions.

GENERAL

25. The company will ensure that the provisions of PML Rules framed thereunder and the Foreign Contribution and Regulation Act, 1976 (wherever applicable) are strictly adhered.

26. In a situation where in the KYC measures cannot be applied satisfactorily due to non-furnishing of information and/or non-cooperation by the customer, the company shall review and consult the status with its senior management including the Principal Officer(s) and may even consider closing of the account or termination of business relationship after issuing due notice to the customer explaining the reasons for the step.

27. The company assures to comply comprehensively and fully comply with the Code in its letter and spirit.