Published On : Fri, Nov 22nd, 2013

Banks not appoint security guards at ATMs to avoid liability, save salaries, says senior official

atm-guardlessNagpur News.

Following the recent brutal attack on a woman inside an ATM chamber at Bangalore, the cash delivering machines in Nagpur has become the topic of much concern particularly because of the lack of security on most of the ATMs across the city. A shocking fact came to light that many of the ATMs remain unguarded to save out on paying extra salary to security guards and also because of the fact that the ATMs are insured and hence authorities pay little heed to securing this asset. A senior manager in one of the leading government banks revealed this fact on condition of anonymity.

The issue of non-posting of security guards at these ATMs has bothered big time to the citizens in the wake of series of ATM thefts in the recent past.

Nagpur Today conducted the physical survey in most of the busy areas in the city and found a spate of unmanned ATM booths. Quizzed over the security issues to their ATMs, Bank authorities have rushed to their defence, however the true picture revealed otherwise.

A highly placed source in one of the nationalized banks said, “During the yearly audit, the banks are often wary of appointing security guards. For every 5 ATMs, some banks appoint only 2-3 security guards. Most of the banks see paying up to the security guards as an additional liability. The authorities are also rest assured that their booths are insured and hence they are least bothered about security.”

During the survey, large numbers of ATMs of Union Bank of India were found without security guards and necessary arrangements in place to attend emergency situations.

Subhash Wanjari, Senior Manager, Union Bank of India at Regional Office, Ramdaspeth clarified that their ATMs only provide for night time security between 7 pm to 8 am while it remain unguarded for the rest of the day. When referred to the broad day light ATM thefts in the past, Wanjari said that it the bank’s policy to have security guards at its ATMs during night time only. “However there are few vulnerable areas where we have placed round the clock security guards who change shifts. If you check our ATMs at Gokulpeth, Ghat Road, Dhantoli or Telecom Nagar, you will find the security guards at the prescribed timings. And not only our banks but it is the policy of all the banks to have security guards only during night hours,” Wanjari told Nagpur Today.

Wanjari said that those who claim to be having 24 hours security guard services in place must be duly checked to know the truth. “If you go and check one such ATM in Congress Nagar, you will see there is not a single security guard against the tall claim of such banks,” Wanjari said.

However, a senior officer from one of the leading private banks see the ATM related crimes as more of law and order situation than the bank thing. He said, “As the banks we are more inclined towards ensuring better banking services to our customers. However we do keep in check the security guidelines, but crimes are something related to law and order situation and that has to be seen by the concerned department.” He said like other banks they also follow the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India. One of the guidelines directs the banks to ensure security at ATMs to instill confidence among the customers and having CCTV cameras at all the booths. When quizzed on the fact that the security of ATMs is the thing that banks should primarily ensure because before the law and order department interferes it is the armed security guard at the ATM who would check any crime in the first place, he said media should take all the possible angles in mind before concluding on the sensitive issue of security. The holistic approach is required to attend such a serious issue, he added.

Another bank officer informed that security norms differ from bank to bank. “Even we have different ATM security parameters at different locations. The booths having more footfalls are provided with more than one security guard, he added.

A handful of other ATMs belonging to Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Central Bank also lacked proper security guards during Nagpur Today search.