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Sunday, March 16, 2014

IBA wants free use of other-bank ATMs to end in metros

Industry lobby Indian Banks Association (IBA) said it has requested RBI to allow banks to charge customers in the metros to pay for accessing ATMs of other banks but continue with the current cap of five free transactions a month for rural customers.

"We have made our recommendations to the RBI that at least in the metros, the current five free usage of other bank ATMs be withdrawn so that every transaction on other bank ATM is chargeable. At the same time, the present set up be continued in rural areas," chief executive MV Tanksale told reporters here.

The issue of charging customers for ATM usage has become into a very vexed one, ever since banks were asked by state governments to place armed guards at all the ATMs after a brutal attack on a customer in Bangalore last November.

According to banks, the overheads will make operations of ATMs unfeasible and hence, they have been struggling to come up with a solution for over three months now, without much of success.

The IBA says banks are losing Rs 400 crore a month because of the excess security requirements at 1.4 lakh ATMs.

A slew of measures, including raising the inter-bank charges and limiting the number of all free transactions at five per month, have been mooted.

Currently, a customer can enjoy unlimited free transactions at his own bank's ATMs and is allowed five free transactions a month in other banks' machines.

Irrespective of it being a free transaction for the customer or not, a bank has to pay the other a fee of around Rs 15 for every transaction done at the other bank's ATM.

Meanwhile, when asked if banks have written to the Reserve Bank to extend the mark to market loss amortization by two more quarters, Tanksale said replied in the affirmative but did not confirm the time period for which the relief has been sought.

"We have certainly requested. It is being examined," he said. Fearing the heavy losses booked by the banks after the July liquidity sucking measures, the RBI had allowed the banks to book their losses spread across four quarters in order to protect the bottomlines.

On the wage revision issue, Tanksale said the IBA is scheduled to hold a core committee group meeting with the bank unions.

He, however, reiterated that there is no change in the stance of the banks and they continue to offer a 10 per cent hike as against the demand for 15 per cent.

Source: Economic Times


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