Friday, January 20, 2017

Almost 50% ATMs still not replenished daily

20 January 2017

PUNE: A majority of the ATMs in the city are yet to get over the cash crunch.

Even as the RBI claims to have pumped more cash into the banking system, almost 50% of the ATMs in Pune fail to receive cash on daily basis. Also, the ones receiving the cash daily, tend to run out of it the same day.

"Though more ATMs have become operational than before, still about 50% of them do not receive the cash daily," said a currency chest official of a leading public sector bank.

However, this does not mean that the cash situation still remains precarious. The banks TOI contacted said there has been a considerable decline in queues at branches. "But there is no pattern to these queues. The cash availability from currency chests still remains low, though it has improved compared to the December 2016 period," a branch manager of a public sector bank said.

Since the banks are still getting not getting enough cash from the chests, what is driving the improvement. Branch manager of another PSU bank said, "Besides getting cash from the RBI, current account holders are also bringing back more money into our branches. Also, we are using our relationships with petrol pumps and retailers and asking them to park money with the branches."

RBI governor Urjit Patel told a parliamentary panel on Wednesday that the RBI has pumped back Rs 9.2 lakh crore worth of new notes into circulation. When the demonetisation drive was initiated on the evening of November 8, Rs 15.44 lakh crore was withdrawn from the system. However, it is estimated that only Rs 9-10 lakh crore was in actual circulation and the balance was in the banks or stashed away at homes.

Online transactions

Meanwhile, various online modes of transactions have not shown any measurable
growth in the first fortnight of January over the same period of December 2016. January month has been a bit of a mixed bag as far as use of alternate channels of banking is concerned. Bankers said in some cases the demand for fresh point of sale terminals has started to come down.

"Cheque transactions has more than doubled. We are clearing cheques for even small amounts like Rs 50 and Rs 70. So, a lot of time is going in this. Since National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) transactions has also grown, much time is going in clearing those," a top public sector bank manager said.

But, are cash transactions back? Traders and bankers tend to agree. "One disturbing trend is that the number and value of transactions at PoS terminals have come down from the peak of December 2016," Manju Agarwal, deputy managing director - Corporate Strategy and New Business, SBI, said. 


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