Yesterday’s physical attack on an ATM customer at Bangalore should be an eye opener for all security professionals who are interested in security as well as Bank professionals who are promoting for increased use of ATM as a customer service channel. It was unfortunate that the victim of the physical attack within the premises of Corporation Bank ATM was a manager of the Bank itself. It was therefore an attack within the Bank’s premises of a Bank staff for which the Bank should take all the responsibility.
The fact that the lady remained bleeding inside the ATM for over 3 hours since the blood flowing out of the closed doors caught the attention of some school children speaks very poorly of the security situation.
It is time now for Banks to immediately close all un-guarded ATMs failing which the Police should close down such ATMs.
In the meantime a comprehensive security system has to be built for the continued use of ATMs irrespective of the costs that may be involved in the process. Such security system should include
a) Real time electronic surveillance
b) Automatic Alert generation on feed failure
c)Accountability for surveillance with a designated Bank official
d) Stronger authentication system both for entry into the premises as well as ATM usage.
I look forward to Mr Raghuram Rajan, the new Governor of RBI to start focusing on his Bank Supervision responsibilities along with inflationary control.
I also warn some of the new Banking licensees such as the Shriram Group who have charted their plans on the increased use of technology to take note of the risks associated with unmanned banking and build in necessary security measures as part of their plans.