The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will be imposing penalties for the first time on banks offering poor quality Automated Teller Machines (ATM) service.

Under the SBV's Decree 96, which imposes administrative penalties on the banking sector, banks will be fined 15 million VND (700 USD) if their ATM machines run out of cash and fail to meet customers' withdrawal demands.

The SBV will also impose a fine of 10 million VND (469 USD) to 15 million VND (700 USD) on banks that suddenly suspend ATM operations without at least 24 hours prior notice.

Banks that fail to maintain customer service operations to help customers at any time, and those that install, change the location or suspend operations of ATMs, if not in accordance with current regulations, will likewise be fined.

According to the SBV's Circular 35, which took effect last March, banks are allowed to collect service fees for clients' transactions, including money transfers and the issuance of new cards, receipts or account statements.

In spite of the multiple service fees that banks have charged, the quality of bank services remains substandard as shown by numerous customer complaints. This is especially true during the holidays, when numerous bank ATMs conk out or run out of money, thereby preventing people from withdrawing.

Under Decree 96, which will take effect this December, persons or groups caught destroying Vietnamese dong will be fined for 10 million VND to 15 million VND (469 USD to 700 USD), and those caught using anonymous or false identities in accounts will be fined for 100 million VND to 150 million VND (4,690 USD to 7,000 USD).

The same decree also regulates that gold traders who fail to list sale prices will be fined for 30 million VND to 60 million VND (1,400 USD to 2,800 USD), and those caught engaging in illegal gold trading will be fined for up to 500 million VND (23,470 USD).-VNA