MULTAN: Amid growing demand, bankers are being pushed and pulled by customers, relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances for provision of fresh currency notes ahead of Eidul Fitr.

In almost every branch of commercial banks in the city, people are demanding new currency notes, especially of Rs10 and Rs20 denomination.

“Priority customers usually demand a fresh copy of Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes for disbursement among servants as Eidi, while the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) provides these to us only to insert in the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs),” an assistant relationship manager at a private bank told APP.

He said the SBP provided Rs1.4 million fresh currency notes of mixed denomination to a medium-sized bank, while every customer wished to have three to four copies of new notes of various denominations by Eidul Fitr.

“We, the bankers, have to face a very complicated situation every year on Eid as customers, relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances expect that they will get the notes from us; it is impossible for us to appease everyone,” he added.

A normal-sized branch of a commercial bank has up to 2,500 customers while big branches have thousands, he said, adding the central bank provided this “seasonal product” only once during Eid days.

When contacted, an SBP official who wished not to be named, said this time they had designated five branches of various banks within the city and five in other cities, including Dera Ghazi Khan (Bank of Punjab), Layyah (Muslim Commercial Banks), Muzaffargarh (United Bank Limited), Vehari (National Bank of Pakistan) and Sahiwal (Meezan Bank), besides their own bank giving easy access to the general public for fresh currency notes.

In Multan, the designated bank branches included National Bank’s Hussain Aagahi branch, United Bank’s Bosan Road branch, Habib Bank’s Sher Shah branch, Bank Alfalah’s Shah Rukn-i-Alam branch and Allied Bank’s BCG Chowk branch, he added.

The SBP official further said they had introduced e-branch system this time through which people could send an SMS to 8877 with their identity card number and branch code from where they wanted fresh notes, adding they would get a code in response provided they had already not received fresh notes from any other branch. After showing the code, the sender would be given the notes only once, he claimed.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2015

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