|Workers stand in line to withdraw cash from ATMs at an industrial park in the southern province of Binh Duong before the Tet holiday. — Photo vnexpress.net
HA NOI (VNS) — The State Bank of Viet Nam has told commercial banks to accord top priority to supplying cash at automatic telling machines (ATMs) during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The move came about after the media reported that many ATMs had run out of cash in the past few days, especially during the last weekend, which had angered customers as they were unable to withdraw cash.
To ensure the service quality as well as safety of ATM transactions during the holiday, commercial banks must regularly monitor timely funding of ATMs to meet the rising demands, the central bank said.
In provinces and major cities with industrial parks, export processing zones and crowded residential areas with large cash withdrawal demands, banks should guide customers to withdraw cash either at ATMs or at the counter of banks.
Direct cash payments should be also implemented for firms which are located at busy spots to avoid an overload at the ATMs.
Besides, banks must also co-ordinate closely with financial switching companies to handle incidents, complaints and inquiries of customers, and ensure smooth functioning of ATMs.
It is also necessary for banks to proactively monitor and send timely feedback to customers on issues arising from problems at ATMs to avoid misunderstandings, which lead to an erosion in customer confidence with regard to banking services.
According to the media, a number of ATMs, especially in the country's two largest cities of Ha Noi and HCM City, have been out of cash for the past few days.
Last weekend, in the Thang Long Industrial Zone in Ha Noi, hundreds of workers stood in a long queue in the rain to withdraw money, but many ATMs were out of cash.
Several ATMs in Ho Tung Mau, Cau Giay, Nguyen Chi Thanh and Huynh Thuc Khang streets were not working.
The ATMs often run out of cash over the weekend when banks are closed, leading to questions whether banks should be punished for not attending to the problem.
According to the current regulation, commercial banks would be fined VND10 million to VND15 million ($450 to $680) if their ATMs did not have sufficient funds over the Tet (Lunar New Year).
To prepare for better operations of ATMs during the holiday, the central bank also directed its branches to inspect the ATMs.
The inspections will focus on ATMs installed in industrial parks and export processing zones, where millions of workers are paid via cards. These machines are often unable to cope with the demand and regularly break down.
However, many banks have also recommended to enterprises that they pay wages and bonuses early instead of making all payments before Tet to avoid an overload.
Le Huynh Ha, manager of ATM customer service at Vietcombank in HCM City, said that some businesses in industrial parks and export processing zones had advanced part of their salaries to workers, which had helped reduce the overload of payments made during the holiday.
According to deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam in HCM City Nguyen Hoang Minh, the city would install an additional 162 ATMs across the city, two-thirds of which would be in industrial parks and export processing zones. — VNS