Relying on your ATM for emergency cash? Think again
You may be nastily surprised that your ATM has run out of money when you really need it
On 12 June 2012, we went to Oriental Bank of Commerce at HAL III Stage, Bengaluru, at 8.15am to withdraw money from the ATM. The transaction was declined. We were surprised as this was a Tuesday and not a Monday when ATMs sometime run out cash. We hopped across to the Canara Bank ATM across the road and here also we faced the same situation. The transaction was declined. A Canara Bank staffer informed us that the banks had outsourced the entire process of uploading the cash in the ATM machines to a sub-contractor. This contractor hadn't done his duty of replenishing the ATM machine. What is the use of such ATMs? It is ironical that these are the banks that claim to be doing great business. You will be surprised to note that there are no standard operating instructions on how to use the ATM cards.
The ATM rooms were filled with scrap in both the banks. A senior citizen who followed us to withdraw cash at the Canara Bank was ATM was shocked when he got a SMS saying his account was debited though the transaction was declined by ATM. We pacified him and asked him to take a Photostat copy of the transaction slip in case it was needed for future correspondence with the bank. When will these nationalized banks improve?
When we called up the Canara Bank branch later, we were informed that both the branch manager and assistant manager were on leave and that the contractor who was supposed to have loaded the cash in the machine had not turned up. If someone needed cash urgently on a Monday morning, what would he do? Whenever banks talk about core banking solutions (CBS), we have to take it with a pinch of salt. Most nationalized banks have CBS as part of their strategy of-"We are also into CBS" but they have very little knowledge in case there is a problem with the technology.
I have seen bank officials in other banks (Indian Bank, for instance) personally uploading the cash in the ATM machine. Then what is prompting banks such as Canara Bank and OBC to outsource these activities? A few days back there were reports that ATM machines in Bengaluru were broken into and cash stolen by thieves. Point to be noted here is that both the ATMs are located exactly opposite each other do not have a security guard too.
What is the use of technology if it can't come to our aid at time of need? The branch executive in Canara Bank coolly asked us to write an email to the CMD. OBC's official opening hours are 10am but the staff breeze in only by 10.30am. We are sure what the response is going to be in from OBC too -a simple apology and asking us to a send an email to the customer service cell. Banks need to ponder over the fact that despite having the best technology at their disposal, they still have to deal with the human inefficiencies in their system while customers must think twice about blindly relying on ATMs. They may get badly stuck when they really need the money.
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