In Mumbai, rush to banks starts as early as 7.30 a.m.

People wait in a long queue outside a Bank of India branch in Mumbai on Thursday.  

Banks across Mumbai opened up to long, serpentine queues as people rushed to their local branches first thing in the morning as early as 7:30 a.m. to deposit high denomination currency notes in their accounts or to exchange them for lower denomination currency.

The Central government has set the deadline up to December 30 for people to deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in their bank accounts. Thursday’s rush mainly comprised people who did not have enough Rs 100 notes for daily expenses and needed to exchange their high denomination notes urgently. However, there was also a section of people who queued up simply to get the new Rs 2000 notes that were being issued, adding to the crowd.

Pankti Desai, a chartered accountant by profession, was one such customer who was waiting in line at the Kemps Corner branch of the Standard Chartered bank before it opened up for business. “People are getting in line first and then inquiring about the procedure when they reach the counters, adding to the time taken. It would be quicker if they first inquired with officials at the bank and then stood in the proper queue. Also, priority customers of the bank are coming in with huge amounts of cash and acting snobby and irate when asked to stand in line like everyone else. The bank staff are being polite to them and they are taking advantage of this,” Ms Desai said.

The police had deployed personnel at all banks and ATM kiosks in the city since Wednesday, and patrolling units were also instructed to be extra vigilant when passing by banks. The police also instructed citizens to be alert while taking large amounts of cash to the bank, and to carry it in a secure manner.

Bhayander resident Runcil Rebello is getting married on Saturday and the government’s sudden move caused him a lot of added stress. “We were preparing envelopes of cash for the attending guests, and the government announced this out of the blue. Every member of my family went to their respective banks today so that we could put together enough cash for the wedding. I waited for three hours in the sun before I could enter my branch,” Mr Rebello said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 4:33:37 AM |

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