When I was first posted as Branch Manager of a mid-sized branch in M.P., everything was new for me at the operational level. On-the-job training for two years had however given enough confidence to run the branch. There were so many issues that I have discussed at different points of time.
Here I’m going to discuss about cash and the cashier. There was only one position of cashier in the branch of thirteen and Mr Munnilal was holding that position. But he always demanded for extra hand to help him out, but I had none.
He used to grumble whenever I asked him to receive cash beyond business hours. He would sit late to count the currency notes before tallying with accounts and depositing them in the strong room (a room to protect valuable items including cash and lockers against fire and theft).
Sometimes I had to wait for his closure of cash register late in the evening. But somehow I was not convinced with his demand, as he used to receive hardly six or seven bundles (a bundle=1000 pieces) of notes a day, that could be easily handled by a cashier.
I was under impression that he had intentionally adopted delaying tactics to inconvenience others in the branch. I decided to confront him. One day after business hours, I took his seat and asked him to sit beside me, and started collecting and counting the currency notes he had so far received at his counter.
I was surprised to see that notes of all denominations had been mixed. It was really a time consuming job to seggregate and arrange notes denomination-wise, that too after sorting issuable and non-issuable ones, as per RBI guidelines.
I angrily asked him, “How careless are you, Munnilal? You don’t know the worth of these notes.”
His reply was astonishing, “Sir, these are not notes for me. These are just pieces of paper.”
This was a lesson for me. I admired his honesty. Munnilal was correct in his approach, as we were just the custodians of public money. But I countered him,
“You’re right, Munnilal, but these pieces are hard earned money of public. We have to respect them as such. Moreover, any mishandling and resultant shortage of cash would have to be compensated with your hard earned income only.”
I asked him to seggregate notes denomination-wise and sort them too while receiving and paying the cash from the next day onwards. He bluntly said that was not possible as he had to receive and pay cash simultaneously.
Then I decided to take a plunge, though it was a bit risky. The next morning I sat again in his chair in his cabin and started doing his job, while Munnilal kept watching me. After closure of business hours that day, it hardly took one hour to finalise cash and accounts. Munnilal was stupefied.
There was an attitudinal change in Munnilal thereafter. He not only started completing his job early, but also helping others in the branch. I was happy for him, but his family was happier that he started going back to home early.