India to redefine ATMs as bank branches
12 October 2016 | 6280 views | 2
The Reserve Bank of India has moved to redefine ATMs in remote rural areas as bank branches, to counteract the decline in traditional full-feature outlets and improve financial inclusion.
Noting the growing popularity of mobile banking in India, the RBI wants to ensure the availability of banking services in all areas through low cost delivery channels by bringing fixed point locations such as cash machines on a par with bank branches.
States the central bank: "In the light of the rapid developments in technology and associated digital and telecom revolution, banks are looking at alternative approaches to enlarge their footprints and reach out to the unbanked and underserved centres in remote areas in a cost effective manner."
To aid the process, the RBI is abolishing rules that only allow banks to post security guards at ATMs, paving the way for the positioning of bank staff as support for people using remote cash machines.
Henceforward, "any electronic kiosks or ATM cash deposit machines, if manned by banks' staff or business correspondent for providing limited customer-based banking services for their walk-in customers, should also be treated as a banking outlet," states the Bank.
The RBI is calling on banks to collate and compile data that monitors the transactions in these outlets to set against financial inclusion targets in the provision of banking facilities in unbanked rural centres.
States the RBI: "With a view to facilitating financial inclusion and providing operational flexibility on the choice of delivery channel, it was considered necessary to redefine branches and permissible methods of outreach keeping in mind the various attributes of the banks and the types of services that are sought to be provided."