Vietnam cbank to impose immediate fine on banks with out-of-cash ATMs

16:06 | 19/01/2015
The inspection and monitoring agency under the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam will inspect a number of automated teller machines (ATM) across the city and imposeimmediate fines on banks that operate problematic ATMs.

A team of inspectors will be formed to carry out the task, an agency representative told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Inspections will focus on ATMs installed at citywide industrial parks and export processing zones, where millions of workers are paid via cards, whereas the machines fall short of demand and regularly break down, he said.

The agency is considering sanctioning banks that violate Government Decree No. 96, the spokesperson added.

The decree, which took effect on December 12, set a maximum fine of VND15 million (US$700) for banks that let their ATMs run out of cash and fail to meet cash withdrawal demand.

Penalties ranging from VND10 million ($466) to VND15 million ($700) will be slapped on such breaches as failing to report when an ATM is out of order for 24 straight hours; inappropriate relocation or suspension of the operations of ATMs; having unstable electricity supply for the machines, which causes them to ‘swallow’ customers’ cards when the power is out; and failing to maintain customer care services.

“Whenever it receives a complaint about the ATMs, the agency will send personnel to check and determine the issue,” the source from the inspection and monitoring agency said.

“The agency officials will work directly with the bank that runs the machine and will book the case or impose fines if clear evidence is provided.”

The agency will tighten the procedures of licensing new ATMs for banks that fail to meet demand from their customers.

The move is intended to improve the quality of ATM services, which were repeatedly slammed by cardholders in 2014, he said.

No violators ever fined

Although Government Decree No. 96 has been in place for a month, no banks have ever been fined over their out-of-cash ATMs.

On January 11, as observed by a Tuoi Tre correspondent, dozens of workers at the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone in Thu Duc District ‘besieged’ 14 Vietcombank ATMs inside the park, but few were lucky enough to come back with cash.

Although most of the machines did not run out of cash, they repeatedly ran error messages and one of them was completely out of order.

Elsewhere, in the Dong An Industrial Park in the southern province of Binh Duong, there are seven ATMs operated by Agribank, Techcombank and Vietcombank.

Workers could only draw cash of low face values from two of the three Vietcombank ATMs, while the remaining one occasionally broke down, according to an observation the same day by Tuoi Tre. Techcombank and Vietcombank each have two machines but none of them had any cash left.

A VietinBank machine nearby also failed workers as it was shut down for maintenance.

Truong Thi Anh, a worker, said she spent a whole morning going from machine to machine but was still unable to withdraw any money.

“There are dozens of thousands of workers here but only eight ATMs, none of which have stable operations,” she lamented.

A Techcombank representative told Tuoi Tre that the bank has 60 ATMs across Binh Duong, home to many industrial parks and export processing zones.

Although Techcombank pays close attention to replenishing its machines on time, the ATMs usually become overloaded during weekends or the days when workers receive salaries.

Meanwhile, a representative with the Vietcombank branch at the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, said it is normal for ATMs to break down because “they are machines anyway.”

An official from the central bank’s Ho Chi Minh City branch admitted toTuoi Tre on January 14 that no banks have been fined for violating decree No. 96, but refused to elaborate on the reason why.


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