Profiteering at the cost of customer safety

All of us remember the gruesome incident at Bangalore where a lady was robbed and brutally thrashed at an in-secure ATM. Now a days you will notice that at many ATM’s, especially of private banks, there is no security guard, the ATM booths are filthy, air conditioners not working and the entrance doors at times do not even close. You may recollect that when these banks opened various ATMs, they were properly manned by security staff and were clean, well lit and secure. Once customers became habituated with ATM convenience, banks started cost cutting measures and one of these was off loading ATM responsibilities on franchises. Manning ATMs 24×7 was considered as a major cost and hence they removed security guards at the cost of customer safely which eventually resulted in the Bangalore incident.

Bank’s argument about ATM guarding cost is incomplete and presents only one side of the story, the one which is convenient to the banks. However the other side of the story is about the huge cost saving at the bank branches. Looking at the large no. of people who use ATMs, it a simple fact that in absence of ATMs these people would have flocked the bank branches requiring large augmentation of staff, bigger premises and added infrastructure. All of these would have cost banks a bundle, which they have saved 100% but on which they remain conveniently silent. Considering a single shift cost of Rs. 8000.0 per guard, banks would incur a monthly cost of Rs. 24000.0 on security. Considering this cost against their enormous recurring savings on staff and premises costs, one can easily deduce that with ATMs banks are actually making money and their cost cutting is nothing but profiteering at the cost of customer security and safety.

We all must raise our voice with the banks and make them provide security at the ATMs at no extra cost to the customers. They can not profiteer at our cost, let them improve their profits by being more efficient and innovative.

Otherwise, there will be a day when one of us will again fall victim to some brute at an un-guarded ATM of one of the “prestigious” banks.

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