Banks gear up to beat holiday disruption

The online transactions and cheque clearances are expected to be impacted as RBI electronic payment systems are shut due to the holidays on account of Good Friday, fourth Saturday and Sunday.

Banks are geared up to meet the cash requirements of their customers during the four days of bank holidays from Friday to Sunday.

The online transactions and cheque clearances are expected to be impacted as Reserve Bank of India electronic payment systems are shut due to the holidays on account of Good Friday, fourth Saturday and Sunday. Loan delivery and online fund transfers, which are routed through the Reserve Bank’s electronic platforms, will also be halted. However the IMPS( Immediate Payment service) will allow customers to undertake online payments.

A P Hota, managing director and chief executive officer of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said, “It is on extended holidays like this that the importance of IMPS is felt by the customers. Banks have a fairly large limit on the IMPS so the customers can use mobile banking or internet banking to make payments.”

Customers can also make regular card payments at point of sales (POS) retail terminals and merchant establishments.

The State Bank of India (SBI) has got permission from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep its currency chests open so that its ATMS can be replenished during the four days.

A senior official from SBI said, “Our special currency chest branches, which are specialised branches, will remain open so that our ATMS can be replenished during the holidays.”

Currency chests are select branches of scheduled banks which are authorised by the RBI to facilitate distribution of notes and coins. In these branches, notes and coins are stocked on behalf of the RBI. These currency chests distribute notes and coins to other bank branches in their area of operation. There are 4,211 currency chests and 3,990 small coin depots spread across the country.

Online payments under the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) RBI was operational on Thursday as the Chennai centre was open. All four centres in the four metros dealing with NEFT/ RTGS transactions are closed on Friday to Sunday.

RBI’s payment systems comprise the RTGS and NEFT, cheque clearing operated by various bankers’ clearing houses in the country including the grid based Cheque Truncation System (CTS), Electronic Clearing Service (ECS), Regional Electronic Clearing Service (RECS) and National Electronic Clearing Service (NECS) will all be shut for three days.

Puneet Kapoor, senior executive vice-president Kotak Mahindra Bank “We have adequately replenished our ATMs with cash to the extent that they do not go dry during the upcoming consecutive holidays. Additionally, we monitor cash levels of ATMs online, and refill accordingly, even on holidays.”

Also, mobile and internet banking facilities will also help customers to a large extend.

Rajiv Anand, group executive and head, retail banking, Axis Bank, said, “Our mobile app and internet banking platforms have been augmented to allow customers complete most of their transactions and service needs 24X7 without having to visit a branch. The use of IMPS (immediate payment service) enables customers to transfer funds real-time, even on banking holidays.” Axis Bank said it did not encounter any problems in making cash available at the ATMs.