Since the launch of Bank of Bhutan’s (BoB) agency banking service in Kanglung three weeks ago, the authorised agent, Sonam Tenzin, has made about 817 transitions.
Because the two automatic teller machines (ATM) in the gewog frequently do not work, the agency banking service has been providing vital service to the residents.
Damcho Wangdi, a student of Sherubtse college, said that the service is reliable since most of the time ATMs are down.
“It’s like the machines know that we are in need of money and it ceases to function,” he said. “But now with the agency banking initiative, we can withdraw money anytime.”
Although majority of the customers are the college students, Sonam Tenzin said that civil servants and farmers from far-flung places like Udzorong and Jomtshang also come to make deposits.
Within the first 10 days, the 43-year-old businessman made about 130 deposits mostly from farmers living in the locality. About 34 withdrawals were also made during the same time.
He said that customers preferred the service especially when it came to deposits because it is cumbersome to travel all the way to Trashigang to make deposits. “Only when the ATMs are down, students and residents avail of the service for withdrawal.”
The banking service has also benefitted Sonam Tenzin’s business. He said that people who withdraw cash from him usually ends up purchasing goods from his shop.
Apart from the withdrawal and deposits the agent also provides services like tax, utility bill and loan EMI payments, including airtime top-ups for B-Mobile and TashiCell users, among others.
Sonam Tenzin said that he has received encouraging feedback from users. However, the celling of Nu 100,000 per day restricts him from making more transitions.
Younten Tshedup | Kanglung