Most private sector branches require an application receipt and proof of identity to exchange banknotes. Some branches have also printed deposit slips on which those interested in exchanging must fill in the serial numbers of the Rs 2,000 bills.
Meanwhile, PSB branch officials, who did not require documents, told TOI that private bank customers from nearby branches were queuing at their branches to exchange banknotes. “We’ve been told not to ask for proof of identity, and many come to exchange more than once a day,” said ein SBI Branch manager. Another public sector bank official said many companies would queue their employees for exchanges.
SBI, the country’s largest bank, had asked its branches on May 20 to obtain a deposit slip and proof of identity from those who came to exchange their banknotes, but reversed the order a day later.
There have been complaints from customers that private bank branches have refused to invite non-customers to exchange banknotes. In one case, a private bank refused to accept 2,000 rupees worth of notes to deposit into the bank account without the account holder being present.
Store managers are under pressure because there are no clear written instructions. Some managers said they received instructions from supervisors to persuade customers to deposit bills rather than exchange them.
While not many people lined up on the first day of the exchange, the lines at the branches where free currency exchange is available are getting longer and longer.
Some companies use banknote withdrawals as an opportunity to increase their business. Canara Bank said it has waived cash transfer fees for those making fixed deposits using Rs 2,000 denomination notes. The bank markets their 444-day deposit system, which offers 8%.
Unity Small Finance Bank is asking holders of Rs 2,000 notes to visit their branch and use it to open a time deposit and earn up to 9.5% interest. However, some companies issued notices saying they would not accept Rs 2,000 notes.