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Day 1 of Rs 2,000 currency note exchange: Banks wait, customers await

Banks differ on procedure to exchange withdrawn currency

Rs 2000

Withdrawal of notes to have favourable impact on deposits, interest rates, says a SBI study PHOTO: PTI

BS Reporters Chennai | Kolkata | Delhi | Mumbai

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The rush of 2016 was mostly missing as banks nationwide started exchanging Rs 2,000 notes on Tuesday amid  confusion over forms and ID proof.          
With memories of queues seen during demonization nearly seven years ago still fresh, officials of a City Union Bank (CUB) branch in Chennai had geared up to facilitate exchange of Rs 2,000 notes. Two counters were marked for handling the pink wads with one exclusively for senior citizens. But till about 3:30pm, not a single person had turned up. A branch of ICICI Bank in the IT hub of Chennai noted five transactions with 40 notes of Rs 2,000 till evening and an Indian Bank branch near Sholinganallur had less than 10 transactions. “Some of our branches has not had a single Rs 2,000 note transaction,” an Indian Overseas Bank official said.
Things were not very different in Mumbai the day banks began the exchange exercise. On Friday, the Reserve Bank of India had announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes, asking banks to exchange these notes from May 23 to September 30. 
In central Mumbai, there was hardly any queue at a Union Bank branch. An HDFC Bank branch in Thane had one teller counter designated for the Rs 2,000 note out of many as there was hardly any rush – it had received three queries till about afternoon.
In South Kolkata at one of the prominent State Bank of India (SBI) branches, about five to six persons turned up to deposit. “The common man does not have Rs 2,000 notes. So there is no rush. Also, it continues to be legal tender,” a bank staffer said.
This is in sharp contrast to the demonetisation of 2016 when snaking queues had become normal outside bank branches. Keeping the peak summer season in mind, the central bank had in fact advised banks this time around to provide appropriate infrastructure at the branches such as shaded waiting space, drinking water facilities
The Chandni Chowk branch of SBI in Delhi had a queue in contrast to private sector banks in the area. The reason: other banks were asking for ID proof.
Form and ID proof
The RBI had said that the facility of exchange of Rs 2,000 banknotes across the counter shall be provided to the public in the usual manner, that is, as was being provided earlier. Deposits were subject to compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and other applicable statutory requirements.
The SBI, in a communication to chief general manager of all its local head offices, had also said that the facility of exchange of Rs 2,000 notes by public up to a limit of Rs 20,000 at a time would be allowed without obtaining any requisition slip.
But the procedures at banks varied. Sudha Pai, a customer at Union Bank (central Mumbai), said, “Bank officials asked us to fill up the form which was as per RBI norms.”
In Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area, private banks such as HDFC, ICICI, Axis asked customers to fill a form for exchange of currency notes and furnish Aadhar card. As did Yes Bank in Laxmi Nagar Branch, Delhi.
The banks have deputed extra personnel to assist customers in explaining to the procedure and documents required for cash deposit/exchange.
Public sector bank, Central Bank of India (Chandni Chowk) also required filling of a form for currency exchange supported with an ID proof such as Aadhar, driving license, voter id, passport, besides other options.
In ICICI Bank's Worli branch, customers were asked to fill up the form for exchange of notes. At Canara Bank's (Worli branch) customers were not given the option to exchange and a customer had to deposit the money in their own bank accounts.
Cashing in
Since the central bank announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes, the pink note is being pushed everywhere – from jewellers to petrol pumps and even the neighbourhood stores.
At Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), a personnel doing smart card recharge, said that normally there are one or two Rs 2,000 denomination notes in an eight-hour shift, which had increased to 40 on Tuesday resulting in shortage of lower denomination notes.
The window for exchanging the notes is long with the central bank allowing deposit or exchange for four months (up to September 30) unlike in the case of  demonetisation of 2016.
That too may have reduced the urgency to exchange notes immediately.
(With inputs from Ishita Ayan Dutt, Shine Jacob, Nikesh Singh, Dev Chatterjee, Abhijit Lele)


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First Published: May 23 2023 | 9:33 PM IST

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