SBI takes adhoc measures to calm nerves

Highlights: 
Additional cash of Rs 2,500 crore yet to be dispensed to banks
Excess cash from other SBI regions to be transferred to Bengaluru
SBI scraps off cash handling charges

The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Friday initiated ad-hoc steps to increase supply of cash to its ATMs in Bengaluru, which is facing huge cash crunch.

After allowing the debit card holders of all banks to withdraw from the PoS machines across various merchant locations for free, SBI has also decided to waive 0.75% commission on cash deposits by its customers. It has also decided to pull back cash from other regions in the state and increase the supply to ATMs in Bengaluru.

"We have directed our zonal offices, to withdraw charges on cash deposits. This will ease the stress on our ATMs to an extent," Neeraj Vyas, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, SBI told DH.

This will result in a daily loss of about Rs 48.75 crore to SBI. The bank sees an average daily cash withdrawal worth Rs 9,000 crore, while Rs 6,500 crore are deposited with the bank daily.

Cash crunch has adversely affected the customers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. "We will be transferring surplus cash from other regions to Bengaluru in coming days. This will ease the stress on the system," Vyas said.

The bank customers across the state are feeling the increased pinch of the cash crunch. "I went to seven ATMs in the morning. None of them were working. I don't have any cash on me now," said one of the aggrieved HDFC customers.

Meanwhile, a cross section of bankers that DH spoke to, said that they haven't till now received any additional cash as directed by the central government. Despite Finance Ministry assuring that cash would be supplied in three days after the news of cash crunch broke, an RBI spokesperson told DH, "We can't do it overnight. There are a lot of logistics issues involved in supplying cash."

The top management of various banks and RBI have been monitoring the situation at the very micro level. "We have top management guys visiting branches of late to take stock," a bank official said.

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