By early April, postal customers in Chennai will be able to access their savings accounts from any of four select post offices.

Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, in his budget speech on Thursday, highlighted measures to modernise post offices with core banking facilities.

Meanwhile, the department of posts, Tamil Nadu circle, has already initiated a process to interconnect head post offices in Anna Salai, Mylapore, St. Thomas Mount and T. Nagar.

Once the facility is made available, customers of these four post offices can avail the benefits of banking services.

Officials of the postal department said that customer account details would be safer now as they would all be stored together on a common platform.

As of now, customers of these networked head post offices alone can make transactions in any of them. They will soon have access to automated teller machines, to be set up in these offices.

At present, Reserve Bank of India has authorised ATMs to be operated exclusively by postal customers. It will allow extension of services to bank customers based on their performance.

An official said customers need not wait in queues to withdraw cash from savings bank accounts or to avail of their monthly pension. The system will be introduced in other post offices in the city in a phased manner.

In the long run, post offices will provide all kinds of banking services such as internet and mobile banking. The department is also considering integrating other postal services through banking in the future.

For instance, customers may be able to send money orders through mobile banking. Account holders can also check the details of their deposits online.

There are nearly 45 lakh account holders in the Chennai city region, which includes those in other neighbouring districts. Of these, about 20 lakh account holders are in Chennai and its suburbs alone.

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