THIS refers to the letter “Investors’ woes” (Sept 8) which discussed the problems in the effective operation of ATM cards that are being issued under the National Savings schemes. It has been made mandatory for investors in Behbood Certificates under which scheme I opened a savings account with the National Savings on Aug 18. I was told by the manager to see him after 10 days to collect the cheque book of the account and to return the profit coupon book.

On my inquiry, I was told to draw my next profit payment, which was due on Aug 26, through the profit coupons as usual. Logically, the new system could not be made operative effectively unless a cheque book on the newly opened savings account was issued to the investors.

As assured, I submitted my profit coupon through my collecting bank in the usual manner on Aug 26. This was returned unpaid by the National Savings centre with the remark, “Profit has been deposited in savings account”.

How could I know that the profit has been credited in my savings account? According to the system, the centre was supposed to send me a text alert immediately when the proceeds were credited automatically in the account. Further, I was not issued a cheque book against the savings account, which was supposed to be given to me on Aug 28.

This was highly undesirable state of affairs where a senior citizen was made to go back and forth between the bank and the centre. Of course, the bank was not at fault because negligence was on the part of the centre.

It is important to note that the banking sector in Pakistan is based on advanced technology established after many years of trial and error. Now, the National Savings centres, which have been away from normal banking functions for long, are venturing to adopt highly technologically operated banking functions related to the handling of a negotiable instrument (cheques) and the operation of its ATM cards.

As claimed, the salient features of the newly introduced systems are; automatic transfer of profit to the newly opened savings account on the due dates, sending of text alerts about the transfer of profit to the investors, clearing of cheques presented through normal banking system, and operation of ATM cards issued by the National Savings.

There is no doubt the new system will provide immense ease to the investors, provided it functions smoothly and effectively without making the investors, mostly senior citizens, running around the banks and the National Savings centres in an effort to locate their profit payments.

The newly-introduced system should have been allowed to run parallel to the old system for a period of, say, three to five months. During this period, all the operating bugs could have been removed and the application of the new system would have been smooth.

S. Zaki Hasan
Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2022

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