In U.P, no customer rush at banks on 1st day of ₹2,000 note exchange
While some banks asked customers to fill out a form, others told people to use the cash deposit machine.
LUCKNOW/PRAYAGRAJ/AGRA/KANPUR Reserve Bank of India’s announcement to take ₹2,000 notes out of circulation had triggered speculations of a demonetisation-like situation when a beeline of customers had to wait outside banks to get currency notes exchanged. Thankfully, no such rush was witnessed at any bank branch across the state.
Most of the banks recorded a meagre turnout and the exchange process went on smoothly at a majority of the branches. However, there was some confusion regarding the procedure for the note exchange. While some banks asked customers to fill out a form, others told people to use the cash deposit machine. Here is how the procedure was carried out in the major cities of the state:-
In the state capital, things went on swiftly at almost all bank branches. Only the ICICI Bank branches could not start with the exchange as planned due to a server error. However, not many turned up on Day 1 allotted to exchange ₹2,000 notes.
Saurav Singh, cashier at HDFC’s Hazratganj branch, said, “We have three cashiers on duty here. I only attended to four people who had come to exchange their notes. They also had just a couple of notes, nowhere close to the maximum limit.”
Echoing a similar observation, Sushant Rawat, manager of the Hazratganj branch of Punjab National Bank, said, “It is a very simple and swift process. One can exchange up to Rs. 20,000, beyond which, if they have an account with us, they can deposit the amount and withdraw in different denominations later. We only attended to about 10 customers on Tuesday. None of them had notes beyond the set limit.
Shweta Singh at Axis Bank, branch relationship officer, and Suman G Jha, chief manager at the Hazratganj branch of the State Bank of India, also shared a similar experience.
Banks in the city did not witness a rush of customers to exchange ₹2,000 currency notes on Tuesday. While no chaos or anxiety was witnessed among bank customers, several of them were confused over the ID card required to make the exchange at the bank. Customers added that different banks followed different procedures for the exchange.
“I went to one of the branches of a prominent nationalised bank in Govindpur. They had no separate counter for people wanting to exchange ₹2,000 notes. The officials present said that I will have to fill up a form and submit a photocopy of a valid identity card but the exchange would be possible only after two days when they get further clarification. For now, I could deposit the notes in my account using the cash deposit machine,” said Ram Lal Maurya, a resident of Shivkuti.
When compared with public sector undertakings, private banks appeared more organised and ready to make the exchange. HDFC’s Civil Lines Branch set up two separate counters to allow non-account holders to exchange notes as per RBI norms. Abhishek Singh, the branch manager of HDFC bank, Civil Lines, said that no rush was seen during the entire day and just 20 people availed of the exchange facility at his branch.
In the Taj city, bank officials felt customers are resorting to a ‘wait and watch’ strategy given the low turnout of customers coming in to get the exchange done. “Banks are fully prepared for the exchange and deposit according to the wish of a customer. Our preparedness has been checked by senior bank officials. However, there was no rush on the first day of the exchange,” said the branch manager of a nationalised bank.
Meanwhile, Dr Preetinder Singh, commissioner, Agra division, in a video message, said, “In view of Tuesday being the first day of exchange or deposit, local police officials interacted with branch managers and officials at banks and assured them of deployment of cops if required. The police force is prepared to meet any situation, if the number of those coming to exchange increases in days ahead.”
In Kanpur too, banks witnessed a marginal turnout of people wishing to exchange ₹2,000 notes. However, several city residents were reported to pay for fuel in bills of ₹2,000. “We are largely getting ₹2,000 notes at the pumps. The petrol pump I own received 15 times more ₹2,000 notes than it used to during normal days,” said Mohd Anwar, who owns a pump near the Bada Chauraha.
In the wake of the ongoing note exchange procedure, banks have been asked to ensure that their CCTVs are functional. Also, banks have issued a circular to issue tokens in case there is a surge of people turning up to get their ₹2,000 notes exchanged.