To facilitate smooth transaction, government banks across India will remain open for public on Saturday (November 12) and Sunday (November 13), said the Reserve Bank of India, a day after the government scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes to tackle the menace of black money. The banks were earlier ordered to remain closed on November 9. The banks will open from tomorrow to help people exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that have been declared invalid. However, the ATMs will remain shut tomorrow as well.
Fearing a jump in footfalls to deposit or withdraw cash following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes, lenders announced a slew of measures, including extension of banking hours, doing away with ATM charges and expanding credit limits.
The nation’s largest lender State Bank of India was among the first to announce an extension in banking hours, till 1800 hrs tomorrow and also said each of its branches will be having a dedicated ‘exchange counter’ to change the currency notes.
ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar said the bank’s branches will be open till 2000 hrs on Thursday and Friday. The bank also introduced a slew of relaxations on the electronic payments or withdrawals front.
The banks have geared up to face the challenge of dealing with customers who are expected to come in hordes tomorrow for exchange of money.
Anticipating panic and heavy rush at bank branches tomorrow, banks in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have sought deployment of police at branches in order to avoid any law and order problem.
Even as banks asserted that there was no need to panic, they said additional counters will be set up at branch levels to facilitate customers. “We will be setting up two counters at each branch in our zone for exchange of cash,” said a senior officer of Central Bank of India.
With the setting up of additional counters, banks will also be sending extra staff to branch levels so that customers should not face any harassment.
With banks anticipating that ATMs might go empty early for some days, they have also decided that frequency of refilling cash dispensing machines will be enhanced so that customers could get cash as per their requirements. “We shall also enhance the frequency of refilling the ATMs,” said SBI official.