Without any automatic teller machines (ATM) in Panbang, a businessman, Nado, has been providing banking services in the locality.

Civil servants from the far-flung areas of Bjoka and Ngangla usually transfer their money using mobile services like B-Wallet and M-BoB to Nado’s account, who then hands out cash.

But Nado might soon be replaced as financial institutions are now installing ATMs in Panbang.

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) has already allotted a room attached to their office in Panbang town to install an ATM. They are waiting for the machine, which is expected to arrive soon.

Bhutan Development Bank Ltd (BDBL) has installed their ATM at Sonamthang, which is about 3km from Panbang town towards Nganglam, but it is not operational at the moment.

Panbang residents said BoB’s ATM in Panbang is expected to benefit the residents of the town and those coming from remote areas while BDBL’s ATM in Sonamthang would benefit school authorities and people travelling the Nanglam-Panbang highway.

Bjoka Gup Tshering Wangchuk said that installing ATMs in Panbang would benefit the people working in the remote areas. “Our gewog office is some 35kms from Panbang and I take things on credit when I don’t reach in time for the bank,” he said.

A health worker in Panbang said having ATMs in the locality could benefit the residents, as people could only withdraw their cash during office hours. “It is difficult for people from far-flung areas.”

He said people had to rely on business people like Nado. “Once the ATMs are operational, it will benefit everyone.”

Nima Wangdi | Panbang