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Server woes hit several public sector banks

Priya sundarajan | | Updated on: Apr 02, 2014

"Come April 2, this turns out to be a standard response, and for several years now. Why are banks not gearing up to face the issue?"

It was a bad start to the financial year for many customers of various public sector banks this morning.

Many who queued up to complete their daily transactions found themselves unable to do so. The reason provided by the staff at most branches was "server problem, we are helpless, come later".

Regular customers say that this is not the first time this is happening.

"Come April 2, this turns out to be a standard response, and for several years now. Why are banks not gearing up to face the issue?" asked a disgusted retired government pensioner, who was pretty upset with the bank staff’s response. Bankers at different banks conceded they have been facing the problem since the start of banking operations today.

A senior official of a nationalised bank, preferring anonymity, told this correspondent that the servers had problems in supporting the huge transaction volumes, particularly at quarterly or half-yearly closing or year-end. There is always a huge volume of transactions that happen at the close of any quarter or year. What added to the strain this time was the government asking banks to keep select branches open on Sunday and till midnight on March 31 Monday to facilitate the maximum possible collection of taxes.

A banker explaining how things get delayed said, “Several processes have to be upgraded and manual intervention is not possible. The NPA status has to be generated; the end of day process has to run; the branch accounts have to be reconciled; the processes are many. If the system supports the process, we are happy. Or else there is a delay at every stage.’

Although well-intentioned, the extension of working hours was not very effective since transaction volumes were quite low. In some places there were no transactions. “There were some branches functioning with over 20 staff for extended hours, to record collection of just a challan or two," the officer lamented.

Published on April 02, 2014

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