With 5 Holidays in a Row, Few ATM’s Gone Dry
Mangaluru: With Banks being closed from Saturday (being second Sat), followed by Sunday, then Ram Navami, Dasara and Muharram, quite a few ATMs in the city went dry after excessive cash withdrawal by customers. During the last few days long queues were witnessed outside other ATM booths in market places, with people eager to have enough cash in hand to tide over the long span of holidays.
A precursor of the crisis was felt during the last couple of days, when most ATMs flashed the ‘low on-cash’ notice. The shortage was due to excessive withdrawals at the beginning of the festive season, as per bank sources. With most salaries getting credited on Friday, ahead of the last weekend before the Pujas, the ATM cash dispensing pattern, a soft-ware run algorithm that ensures cash is replenished before the machines run out of money, sputtered. The software, which is supposed to ensure a seamless demand-supply matrix, has repeatedly failed to predict a basic festive season rule – the need for more cash for weekend shopping.
Almost all banks with major ATM penetration should have taken measures to keep their ATMs up and running till Wednesday. Bank estimates suggest that cash withdrawals generally increase by 20% during festivals. However, consecutive bank offs lead to a 40% surge in withdrawals. Though almost all the banks had privatized cash loading in ATMs and stocking of cash was carefully planned, but owing to the long holidays, few problems of cash starvation did occur. .Upset at finding three ATMs in the City (one said out of cash, while the other two said ‘Out of Order’ ) Urwa resident Naveen said he had to cut back his festive shopping plans due to the situation. “Finally, I could only shop from places which accepted debit cards,” he said. Yet another resident of Bejai, Poornima said she had planned to chip in with some funds to help organize the Dussehra function in her locality, but couldn’t do so as the closest ATM had gone dry. “It was embarrassing to turn down children’s request for a small donation. I never thought ATMs would run dry so quick within 2 days,” she said.
At some ATM kiosks, signs like “Out of Order”, “Out of Service” have been hung, but actually they didn’t wanted to mention that they were “Out of Cash?”. Owing to this long closure, banking services have already affected business transactions. Come tomorrow, when the banks open after a 5 long off days, customers will be looking at big queues, and many a times bank staff take extra days off to add to such long holidays, and customers will have to wait in patience to be attended by the available bank clerk. Stay away from visiting banks tomorrow ?