Banks in Ho Chi Minh City are ensuring that all ATMs will operate smoothly during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays to meet demand for cash withdrawals.

Most ATMs in the city are often crowded with scores of workers gathering to withdraw wages and bonuses.

According to the Commercial Joint Stock Company for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), withdrawal demand increases two or threefold during the holiday, especially in industrial parks and export processing zones.

A representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing Zones and Industry Parks Authority said that long queues have been spotted in front of ATM booths in industrial parks, as many companies have already paid holiday wages and bonuses.

To ease congestion seen in previous years, local banks have carried out timely repairs on ATMs and opened new ATMs at busy spots.

Local banks said there would be a sufficient supply of cash for their ATMs before, during and after the Tet holidays.

Vietcombank, for example, has moved several ATMs where cash withdrawal demand is low to areas including IPs that have high demand.

Vu Thi Quynh Anh, Deputy Director of HDBank's Card Centre, said the bank had foreseen increased cash withdrawals at this time of year so it had prepared several measures to cope with it.

"In particular, the bank has increased the amount of cash in each ATM and set up a team ready to quickly address any breakdown in its network," Anh said.

Chu Hong Minh, Director of Dong A Bank's Card Centre, also revealed that his bank had begun a general inspection of its ATMs, data transmission networks and power resources to ensure that all its ATMs will operate well during the Tet season.

"The machines are supplied three or four times per day with cash on the days approaching the Tet compared with only one or two times on normal days. Meanwhile, the bank is also preparing spare cash drawers to be ready to supply to ATMs," Minh said.

Dong A Bank also has a system to watch over transaction volumes as well as technical operations at its ATM system to ensure stable operations and any breakdown can be addressed quickly, he added.

Because the amount of cash in ATMs has increased significantly on those days, most banks in the city have paid more attention to ensuring security for their customers by deploying guards at several "risky" locations and installing cameras in all booths.

They have also cooperated with the local police to intensify patrols at ATM locations.

"It is not only on Tet holidays that we keep close watch over our ATM system to ensure stable operations," a representative of the ABBank said.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam, the banking sector's ATM system now is able to meet cash demand on normal days only, so overloading often hits those machines on festivals or holidays when firms and agencies pay salaries and bonuses at the same time.

Since December, the central bank has sent several documents asking commercial banks to ensure cash supply for their ATMs, and to open new ATMs at places where cash withdrawal demand is high. The bank has also required local banks to work with enterprises to pay workers' salaries and bonuses at different times to reduce the pressure on the system.-VNA