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On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took action by immediately preventing the Bank of Baroda (BoB) from adding new customers to its mobile application “bob World.” The RBI expressed concerns about the way the bank was onboarding customers through this mobile platform.

In a statement, the RBI invoked its authority under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and directed the Bank of Baroda to suspend any further customer onboarding on the ‘bob World’ mobile app until the identified deficiencies are rectified and processes are strengthened.

The RBI did not disclose the specific reasons behind these restrictions, but an earlier news report had suggested that certain bank employees allegedly manipulated customer accounts to register for the app, using mobile numbers of bank staff or other individuals, which were not originally linked to those accounts.

The Bank of Baroda denied these allegations, emphasizing their commitment to a secure, system-authenticated, and customer-consent-based registration process. The bank has already taken corrective measures and is actively addressing the RBI’s concerns to ensure compliance.

Existing ‘bob World’ customers will not experience any service disruptions due to this suspension. The Bank of Baroda affirmed that their other digital banking channels, including net banking, WhatsApp banking, debit cards, and ATMs, will continue to serve both existing and new customers.

In 2020, the RBI had similarly instructed HDFC Bank to cease sourcing new credit card customers.

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