BENGALURU: As people stand in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs, the feeling that there just aren’t enough branches or outlets is inescapable. Karnataka’s problem, however, is not the number of banks or ATM outlets but lack of currency notes -a problem faced across the country following the Centre’s demonetization move.
According to information accessed from the Union finance ministry, the highest number of new scheduled bank branches opened in Karnataka in entire south India since April 2013. The state also has the second highest number of ATMs.
Of the 6,644 new branches opened across the southern states since April 2013 to June 2016, 27% of them are in Karnataka. “Bank penetration in the state has generally been good for a long time now. Besides the scheduled banks, there are several other formal financial outlets in Karnataka.The issue we are presently facing is shortage of currency notes,” a PSU bank manager said. e further explained that every bank branch can only get a fixed amount of fresh cash from the chest every day. “It depends on the number of ac counts we have and general transaction history. Now, all those numbers do not matter.
People from everywhere, many of who don’t have an account here come to our bank and we cannot refuse them. But the volume of cash we can keep remains the same,” he said.
Similarly, as per the last up dated data (Dec 2015) Karnata ka has 15,501, 8% of all the ATMs in the country . The state has the fourth most number of ATMs after Maharashtra (21,415), Tamil Nadu (19,258) and Uttar Pradesh (16,469).
These four states have 37% of all ATMs in the country.
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There are two issues with ATMs, bank of ficials explained: “Lack of notes and their transportation.”
Most ATMs are refilled by third-party vendors who provide services to banks. “Earlier the frequency of refilling an ATM was somewhere between once every two days to once a week or fortnight, depending on the area. However, now, almost all ATMs, several in rural and semi-rural areas, are getting exhausted of cash in one day. The vendors do not have enough safe vehicles or vans to keep doing this.