Friday, 5 May 2017

A Tale of Two Accounts

 Our CAP member shares her story in her own words.

I wanted to relate to the readers - an incident that we encountered with a Bank, very recently. It makes us feel that we need to be on our toes and be ready for Murphy's law absolutely anywhere. It may be a bit long, but I think it IS important and may be of use sometime for another non profit - Vasumathi Sriganesh, Quality Medical (QMed) Knowledge Foundation

The problem - Our FCRA Account in the Bank was recorded in their system as a regular Trust Account, ever since we opened it in 2011.
How did we find out this? 

We received a donation into our FCRA account - an amount of USD 255. This was from a crowdfunding campaign, where three foreign sources had donated. The crowdfunding platform gave us the donation in the name of their sister concern in the US. 

The Bank wanted us to write them an email telling them about the donation and also giving the address, email id and website of the organization. We did this. 
Next they wanted us to fill a form called - "disposal instruction “and we did that too

A few days later I got a call from their foreign exchange department saying that QMed needed an FCRA Account, and ours was only a regular Trust Account, and that they could not credit this $255 into our account

I told the gentleman that we had both accounts with them. He read out our FCRA Account No and said that "in their system" it is registered as a Trust Account. I told him I was unaware of the Banks' Systems, but that OURS WAS INDEED AN FCRA ACCOUNT. I also told him that we had been receiving donations in the account from abroad - definitely since 2013, if not since 2012. 

I also told him that both accounts had a common Customer ID and I was wondering how the Bank never caught this problem earlier. My guess was that when we were applying for the FCRA Account, we needed a bank account and had opened it as a second Trust account, (but with - FCRA added at the end, for clarity). Once we got the FCRA registration, we sent a copy to them, and informed them. They had not changed our status to FCRA Account!!

I then opened a statement from the account and told him - that the name clearly reads as "Quality Medical Knowledge Foundation-FCRA"
​I also told him that I had been filing FCRA Annual Returns and recently renewed our account too. I sent him screenshots of the FCRA Website, which showed that we were listed in there. 

He then said that he would once again check and ask me if he needed anything more. 
​Two or three days later, we got the same explanation - that in their system we were registered as a Trust Account and not FCRA, and could we fill in a form asking them to change this status. ​We refused - saying that if we filled such a form and signed it, that was tantamount to admitting that we never had an FCRA account all these years, and were still receiving foreign funds! 

​My husband Sriganesh, went and met the Operations Head in our branch and explained everything. She then asked the Head office, and they finally said they would do the change, but wanted one letter from us, declaring that ever since we opened​ the account, all donations that came into it were only from foreign sources. We agreed, only because the Ops Head had been helpful. 

Finally today, the amount has got credited! The whole process took almost a month. 

Why did the Bank never raise the question before?
Our earlier donations - from GlobalGiving and also from one individual apparently came through a routing channel, by which the final money came in Rupees. This time it was in USD and that made them open their eyes. 

Our contributor Vasumati is the founder of Quality Medical (QMed) Knowledge Foundation - a Registered Trust - works in a niche area of medical education and research: "Searching medical literature, and reference management"

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