Mumbai: With Reserve Bank easing norms on ATMs, public-sector banks (PSB) have chalked out massive expansion plans to open atleast 15,300 ATMs across the country by the end of this fiscal.
Five leading state-owned banks, led by State Bank, will open 15,300 ATMs to facilitate retail customers, for whom the service has become free from 1 April this year.
State Bank Group, which runs the largest number of ATMs in the country, has plans to set up 13,400 more ATMs in the current fiscal taking the total number to 25,000 by end-fiscal, an SBI official said.
“Customer retention, particularly in the retail segment, necessitates setting up of large number of ATMs. Presently, State Bank Group has 11,600 ATMs pan-India. We plan to more than double this number this fiscal,” the official told PTI.
Recently, Reserve Bank had allowed banks to open offsite ATMs without its prior approval. The apex bank also permitted free usage of third party ATMs for customers from April 1.
However, banks can charge each other Rs18 per transaction for every third party ATM transaction.
While, small banks in private sector are likely to scale down their ATM expansion as state-ownd banks’ large ATM network will now be available for their customers, PSBs are likely to go ahead with the expansion plans, the official said.
“These include the comparatively low cost of setting up an ATM with that of a branch and the fact that more customers now prefer ATMs to perform cash-related transactions rather than approaching a branch,” the official said.
Another leading state-owned bank, Union Bank of India has similar plans to expand its ATM network in the current fiscal. The bank aims to set up 600 more ATMs this year taking its total ATM network to 2,000.
Its existing branch strength, now at around 2,510 is likely to expand by another 500 this year, UBI’s General Manager, Personal Banking, S Govindan said.
“Union Bank is looking at to expand the network of ATMs. Apart from other benefits, this would also help to enhance the visibility of the bank in Tier-II and Tier-III cities,” Govindan said.
PSBs are keen to set up new ATMs in spite of the maintenance costs required to be incurred by banks but small private players may wait for other bigger banks to take the lead, he said.