Hyderabad: The State Bank of India has asserted that it is not mandatory for customers to deposit money through the cash deposit machines. It is only a suggestion and not compulsory, the bank said.

This comes after a customer complained that a bank official had refused to accept cash deposits and said it was mandatory to make deposits only through the cash deposit machines (CDM).

S. Ramalingam visited the SBI’s Chikkadapally branch during the lockdown in April. He wanted to deposit Rs. 9,000 but a bank official refused to accept the cash and directed him to the cash deposit machine. The official also told Mr. Ramalingam that he would only accept cash of Rs. 1 lakh and above. Any amount below Rs. 1 lakh will have to be deposited only through the cash deposit machine, he was told. The bank employee also allegedly told Mr. Ramalingam that it was mandatory to make deposits through the cash deposit machine only.

Later, the customer tried to lodge a complaint with the AGM but she refused to file the complaint and instead said they had instructions not to accept cash less than Rs. 1 lakh. The customer alleged that the AGM gave the same instructions to the bank and asked him to deposit the money into a CDM.

When Mr. Ramalingam told the AGM that the ATM was overcrowded and there was a risk of contracting the virus, she allegedly told him, “You don’t want to get infected but you are pushing our staff to get infected.”

Mr. Ramalingam alleged that the Chikkadapally branch employees were encouraging the spread of COVID-19 by driving customers to the CDMs instead of accepting cash at the single-window counters. He also alleged that this was a deliberate attempt on the part of the bank staff and AGM Himayathnagar to avoid working during crucial times even after the customer took every precaution.

Om Prakash Mishra, the Chief General Manager of Telangana, in his letter to Mr. Ramalingam following his complaint, wrote, “During the lockdown, the customers were requested to use alternate channels to reduce their visits to the bank. We requested the Chikkadpally branch and all other branches in our region to adhere to the instructions for effective customer service.”

Mr. Ramalingam visited three other branches and was again told to deposit cash in the CDMs.

Talking to NewsMeter, Debashish Mishra, the Deputy General Manager of SBI, Secunderabad region, said, “We want to increase the digital footprint. While the branch is open during working hours, we encourage people to use the CDMs. It is not a mandatory rule, only a suggestion.”

He further added, “Many people, especially shopkeepers, cannot leave their shops during the day and the banks close by 4 p.m. The cash deposit machines are very useful for shopkeepers, businessmen, and small shop owners who work beyond the working hours.”

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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