Karnataka-based public sector bank Canara Bank said 75% of its ATMs have been supplied with cash and are up and working.
The statement comes in the wake of widespread difficulty for people to access money via ATMs under the ongoing currency swap.
India derecognized 500 and 1000 rupee notes in an effort to get everyone to declare their assets and pay taxes.
Bank users are supposed to be able to withdraw Rs 2,500 per day from all cash points, but due to a scarcity of notes in general and high-denomination notes in particular, most banks have not been able to stock their automatic cash dispensing machines.
Only around 30% of the ATMs have been filled even once with cash since the cash exchange started four days ago.
Even these ATMs are running out fast.
“If it’s 100-rupee notes, a single ATM can hold only 1.8 lakh rupees per tray,” said a bank employee. “Since there are only two slots per ATM, that means we can only stock 3.6 lakh rupees per ATM.”
At Rs 2000 per person, this money is enough to serve only 180 people. At an average of 2 minutes per person, the cash will last only 6 hours, and since banks stock their machines once in 24 hours, it remains empty for the remaining 18 hours.
However, said the banking employee, things will improve with the introduction of the new 500 rupee notes — expected today or tomorrow.
Replacing the 100-rupee note with 500-rupee note will immediately increase the working time of the ATM from 6 hours to 30 hours per refill.
Meanwhile, lack of proper procedures by bank authorities is adding to the congestion at the banks. While nearly all branches come with automatic coupon system, many banks are not activating these coupons for the ongoing currency swap.
Some, like SBI, Canara Bank and private sector players like HDFC Bank, however are successfully using the coupon system to avoid the queues.
Canara Bank said it branches have been strengthened with additional staff to efficiently handle and meet out the extraordinary crowd.
“Service of retired staff is also being utilized. Additional cash counters have been set up with separate counters for Senior Citizens. Shades and pandals have been placed outside the branches and other amenities are provided to make the public more comfortable,” it said. The bank has also deployed mobile ATMs for the purpose of dispensing cash.