Mr. Chidambaram was reacting to posters stuck in Ilayangudi by Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) alleging that SBI and IOB branches in the town refused educational loans to students.

Warning stern action against bank officials who refused educational loans to deserving students, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that he would order a probe into complaints that two nationalised bank branches at Ilayangudi had denied educational loans to Muslim students.

Mr. Chidambaram was reacting to posters stuck in Ilayangudi by Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) alleging that State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) branches in the town refused educational loans to the students and sought his intervention. He was inaugurating a branch of United Bank of India on Monday.

Despite repeated instructions (not to refuse educational loans to deserving candidates), some bank officials were not listening, he said and regretted that “there are still some black sheep in the system.”

He said he would ask the officials in New Delhi to probe whether the charges that the SBI and IOB branches in Ilayangudi had denied loans to the students were true. The officials would also be asked to collect statistics on educational loans sanctioned in the two branches with details of loans given for Muslim and non-Muslim students, he said.

During the last ten years of the Congress-led UPA regime, the nationalised banks had sanctioned educational loans to lakhs of students, he said adding that as of now 26 lakh students had availed themselves of loans to the tune of Rs. 54,000 crore.

Earlier, inaugurating a United Bank of India’s branch at Nattarasankottai, he said the UPA government was opening branches at an average of 7,500 a year. During the current financial year, the government proposed to open 10,000 branches and provide 54,000 jobs in the sector, he assured.

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