New Delhi, Feb 17: The increasing usage of ATM facilities has reduced workload in the banking industry by 50 per cent in last five years, but has led to under-utilisation of cashiers in banks, a study said.
According to the latest estimates of industry chamber Assocham, about 65,000 cashiers' workload in the banking industry has gone down 50 per cent in last five years due to growing installations of onsite and offsite ATM facilities in urban, semi-urban and rural bank branches. Besides, it has also created ample employment opportunities for thousands of ex-Defence and paramilitary personnel in the age group pf 52-55, by recruiting them in the security services, the study added.
With increasing number of ATMs, banks clientele now prefer to walk towards such facilities for cash withdrawals and to know their latest banking transactions' statements.
''Due to the convenience factor and because of their prevalence even in rural India, the ATMs are preferred. Moreover, the ATMs facilities, being taken to countryside, are of 'Biometric Nature', which means these can be operated upon by the illiterate rural folk with near thumb immersions,'' the chamber said in a statement.
To make ATMs more popular, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its latest decision said it would issue a directive to entire banking community and reduce the transaction cost for every single withdrawal.
However, the cashier community of the banking industry feels threatened of their sustained survival with this technological advancement.
Referring to the estimates, Assocham President Venugopal N Dhoot said the existing lot of cashiers in the banking sector are now confined to large and bulk cash withdrawals. These cashiers honour their assigned duties in the first half of the day and remain unutilised and unexplored for remaining part of the day.
Keeping in view the situation and the resource crunch that the banking industry is facing these days, the industry body suggested that it would be appropriate if cashiers are also assigned with other responsibilities and kept engaged for the entire day so that their productivity is not questioned.
According to the latest RBI publication, there are about more than 50,000 bank branches in the public and private sector and about 17,000 ATMs facilities on the onsite and offsite banking branches.
There are total 88 banks, including 27 public sectors banks, 28 old private sector banks and nine new private sector banks.
While 19,547 banks branches are located in rural India, there are 12,238 and 10,126 branches in semi-urban and urban parts of the country respectively.
Prominent old banks are the Federal Bank, The Jammu&Kashmir Bank, The Karur Vysya Bank, The South Indian Bank and Development credit bank.
With its seven associates, State Bank of India (SBI) has the largest number of banking branches in the country at 13,661 and largest ATMs centers of about 6,000.