“I don’t want to risk losing my job,” a branch manager with a private bank told TOI when asked why he insisted on a request slip with identity details. He added that the bank had its internal risk management practices, which required him to explain where the notes came from. The manager added that without records, it was not possible to ascertain that an individual was exchanging within the prescribed limit, as multiple deposits were possible. “There is always the possibility of an enquiry into the source of banknotes,” he said.
Over the weekend, SBI, the country’s largest lender, had decided against seeking any identity proof or form. However, in a conference call with banks, RBI officials asked banks to ‘exercise prudence’ while exchanging Rs 2,000 notes.
Bankers are required to obtain PAN numbers for cash transactions over Rs 50,000. They also must submit a cash transaction report containing information on total cash deposits of over Rs 10 lakh during a year. When they are not convinced that the source of funds is legal, they also have to submit a suspicious transaction report.
Customers reported having to submit forms or provide identity proofs in many banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Central Bank, Union Bank and Punjab National Bank (PNB) branches, although PNB had said that no such requirement was there.
According to a chartered accountant, a large number of individuals were keen to exchange notes rather than deposit them because those who deposited even a couple of lakhs during demonetisation received income tax notices. “It is not illegal for an individual to have over Rs 1 lakh in currency notes at home, but they may find it difficult to explain when they withdrew the same,” he said
Saraswat Cooperative Bank was asking customers to fill in a ‘cash exchange challan’ with PAN, Aadhaar and mobile number. Some bank branches were also asking customers to note the serial number of the notes being deposited.
Bankers said that the number of Rs 2,000 notes with the public was small, and they expected more money to come in through businesses’ bulk deposits.