Banks become bandh-proof | india | Hindustan Times
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Banks become bandh-proof

india Updated: Jul 06, 2010 01:27 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

RTGS, CBS, ETF, CTS… sounds all-Greek? These are state-of-the-art technology solutions that have made India’s banks more or less bandh-proof, ensuring that normal activities do not come to a grinding halt even during a nation-wide protest of the kind witnessed on Monday.

ATMs or automated teller machines, peppered across the length and breadth of the country, have begun to assume the role of a mini bank kiosk making the need for a visit to a bank branch almost negligible. That also means customers worry less about absent attendants.

“The retail customers are impacted (by the bandh) in a limited way, thanks to the ATMs, though there is some impact whenever there is a full strike,” M.D Mallya, chairman and managing director, Bank of Baroda told Hindustan Times.

Cheque clearance and cash withdrawal — two of most dominant customer-centric banking activities—have nearly migrated to a fully electronic system.

Bankers said RTGS (real time gross settlement) introduced a few years ago was a key turning point. Under RTGS, there is instant transfer of money between banks, and typically it helps handle 20,000 transcations a day — and involve as much as Rs. 200,000 crore.

“The changing face of the banking sector aided by technological innovations can be seen from various developments in the recent past. The most noteworthy has been the usage of the ATM technology,” Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor K.C. Chakrabarty said last week.

Bankers said the proposed CTS (cheque transaction system)would also mark a paradigm shift in Indian banking.

Cheque truncation is a system between clearing and settlement of cheques based on electronic images and would do away with the system of physical transfer of cheque leafs from one bank branch to another.

The CTS system, currently implemented on a pilot basis in some banks in Delhi, would be introduced gradually in all banks.

Allen CA Pereira, chairman and managing director, Bank of Maharashtra said that technology upgradation such as RTGS and CTS have managed to minimise the impact of a strike such as the Bharat Bandh on Monday.

“Things have changed and banking activities do not come to a halt due to these strikes anymore,” Pereira said.