Unrest hits bank money transportation
Branches, ATM booths face cash shortageAKM Zamir Uddin
Clients are facing acute liquidity shortage at automated teller machines and branches of scheduled banks as they (banks) failed to replenish cash in their ATM booths and branches due to ongoing blockade called by the opposition parties.
Senior officials of commercial banks said they failed to feed cash in the ATM booths and distribute liquidity among their bank branches in last few days as the security companies dealing with cash transfer service were reluctant to transport cash due to road blockades.
Besides, the insurance companies do not give any coverage to the security companies transporting cash, they said.
Some 56 banks set up 5,232 ATM booths across the country and issued 72,32,554 debit cards and 8,53,280 credit cards as on August 31, 2013.
The card holders frequently failed to withdraw cash from the ATM booths and the clients could not withdraw money from the branches in the last two days, the officials said.
A client alleged that he had failed to withdraw cash from an ATM booth of HSBC at the capital’s Shantinagar area.
The security guard of the booth informed him that the bank could not refill cash in the booth due to blockade.
The BNP-led 18 party alliance on Fridays called 72-hour blockade across the country from Saturday to Tuesday and they later extended the agitation programme till Thursday.
Under the circumstances, the banks plunged into severe problem in refilling the ATM booths with cash as well as supplying liquidity to their branches.
The crisis would deepen further in the remaining working days of the week as the opposite alliance extended their blockade tenure, bankers said.
Dutch-Bangla Bank managing director K Shamshi Tabrez told New Age on Monday that his bank had failed to bring liquidity from the central bank to refill the ATM booths and distribute cash among the branches.
The DBBL holds the largest number of ATM booths in the country and it also issued the largest number of debit cards among the clients. The bank set up 2,403 ATM booths and issued 30,98,047 debit cards.
Tabrez said that they could not move liquidity from one branch to another branch resulting that some branches were now holding huge liquidity while other branches faced shortage.
Any vehicle does not move securely right now due to the ongoing blockade. So the cash feeder companies for ATM booths were unwilling to continue their service, he said.
When asked whether his bank would take police protection to transport cash, Tabrez said that it would be a tough job as they have huge number of ATM booths across the country.
BRAC Bank managing director Syed Mahbubur Rahman said that the existing scenario was completely abnormal as the ongoing movement had created a vulnerable situation for them to feed cash to their ATM booths and branches.
BRAC Bank holds the second largest number of ATM booths in the banking industry. The bank set up 333 ATM booths and issued 7,17,791 debit cards and 67,051 credit cards.
He said, ‘We usually conduct the cash in service with the ATM booths through the outsourcing companies. But the companies are now reluctant to conduct the service due to the ongoing blockade. Besides, many insurance companies do not give coverage for the services at the moment.’
It will be difficult to continue the ATM service if the political turmoil persists in the days to come, Mahbubur said.
NCC Bank managing director Mohammed Nurul Amin said that some branches of his bank usually enjoyed huge liquidity while other branches suffered cash shortage during the hartal period.
He said that the branches located in the residential areas faced liquidity shortage but branches in commercial areas enjoyed huge liquidity during the hartal.
Nurul Amin, also chairman of Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, said that they had failed to supply cash to many branches in the last two working days due to the blockade.
He, however, said that they would have to find out a solution to the problem as the blockade would continue during this whole week.
The NCC Bank set up 57 ATM booths and issued 36,080 debit cards and 15,672 debit cards.
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