Mumbai: After the incessant rain, the claim that Mumbai is a pre-eminent financial hub, came into question. Pensive citizens -- keen to make withdrawals that would tide over their dire needs if it continues to rain -- were seen making the beeline for ATMs. However, they returned with a scowl as many private and public bank ATMs did not have cash in their kitty; poor attendance had apparently crippled their services. But customers were left wondering why banks could not anticipate a spike in withdrawals during law-drawn rains. The ATMs were just not loaded to the brim; or, they had possibly been drained by anxious citizenry, and the deficit had not been made up.
Among the inoperative ATMs were some located at Opera House, Nariman Point, Marine Lines, Churchgate, Fountain, Sion and Prateeksha Nagar. Badly needing cash, citizen Neeta went to an ATM of HDFC bank, only to be informed that she cannot make withdrawals as the “custodians of cash” had not come in. “The banks are open but they are not catering to customers. If there is an urgency and one needs cash, where does one go? Ghatkopar? Like fire drills, banks should also be ready to grapple with monsoon issues,” Neeta pointed out.Likewise, in public sector banks, too, many faced a similar problem. The State Bank of India at Saki Naka was open but the staff informed the customers they could not help as their server was down. A SBI customer, said, “This is a regular chant we hear from bank employees. Most of the time I doubt the authenticity of their statement.”
At Citizen Co-operative Bank in Chembur, the bank manager personally served the customers as the staff could not reach office. But in most banks, like the Federal Bank at Saki Naka, one could see more employees than customers. An Allahabad bank employee revealed that employees residing in and around Central Railway line were allowed to take leave as it was not safe for them to travel. “The branches across the city were partially hit due to low turnout of staff," a banker said. A person familiar with banks’ working said some ATMs did run dry as the third party who operates ATMs could not make it. He added, “As many stayed home on Tuesday due to announcement of a public holiday, some ATMs were left crying out for cash.”