Fearing a jump in footfalls to deposit or withdraw cash following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes, lenders on Wednesday announced a slew of measures, including extension of banking hours, doing away with ATM charges and expanding credit limits.
The Reserve Bank also came out with an order instructing all the banks to be open for business on the coming weekend, including Sunday. RBI also said ATMs will remain shut tomorrow as well. For public convenience, banks will remain open on coming Saturday and Sunday, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das tweeted.
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.
All charges pertaining to cash deposit into one’s accounts will be waived till November 30 and the fees for transacting at ATMs will also be scrapped till December 31, ICICI Bank said in a statement.
It has also doubled the daily usage limit of debit cards for use at merchant ends as well as online transactions.
Axis Bank has also waived cash handling charges, and done away with the five free transactions a month limit on its own ATMs and extended banking hours, its president Rajiv Anand told PTI.
While making the announcement to discontinue Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes yesterday, the government had also announced closure of bank branches and ATMs today. It also announced the launch of newer notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 from November 10.
People holding to the older notes will be very keen to do away with them and also get the newer series banknotes of higher denomination when the bank branches reopen tomorrow. ICICI Bank said it is ensuring that Rs 2000 and the existing notes of Rs 100 notes are available at its ‘main branches’ from tomorrow.
It also announced an expansion of up to 20 per cent in the credit limits for ‘worthy’ customers using its credit cards.
Anand said there is no need for the customers to panic and appealed them to defer their visits to branches, pointing out that there is a 50-day limit to change the older notes.