Banking News

A public-private divide on day 1 of Rs 2,000 note exchange

On the first day for exchanging ₹2,000 banknotes, some banks insisted people provide identity proofs while depositing or swapping the recalled legal tender even as some other lenders did not.

Broadly, public sector banks such as the State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BoB) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) did not insist on mandatory identity documents while exchanging the notes for smaller denominations. However, leading private lenders, such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank sought identity documents from those who did not have banking relationships with these lenders, but were exchanging notes at branches of these banks.

“Private sector banks have decided to insist on a copy of identity documents, like the Aadhaar, Pan card, voter ID card, passport or driving licence for non-customers,” said a person aware of the procedures followed by various lenders.

Some banks are insisting on identity documents to ensure future traceability should a probe come up in the future on the source of funds for certain individuals either swapping the notes or depositing them into their bank accounts, bankers said.

Spokespersons for ICICI, HDFC, Axis, Kotak and IndusInd did not respond to ET’s mailed queries.

Public sector banks, however, said they are following the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directions that have so far not expressly mentioned the need for any identity proofs while exchanging the notes.

“SBI, for example, has given a clear direction that there is no proof needed. Unless the directions change, the bank will continue to accept notes from everyone without any identity proofs,” said a bank official.A PNB official also said that the bank is not insisting on identity documents, especially if the value of notes exchanged is below Rs 50,000.

“Of course, if a person comes back again and deposits money, then KYC rules will kick in. Otherwise, there is no need as of now,” this official said. A BoB spokesperson said the lender is not insisting on identity documents of the exchanger.

At present, identity documents are needed for depositing Rs 50,000 or above in any bank account. Central bank guidelines said that customers can exchange notes worth up to Rs 20,000 at a time to ensure smooth branch operations.

Separately, some public sector banks, such as Union Bank of India, are also asking non-customers to fill a form that includes the exchanger’s name, mobile number and a document identity number to ensure future traceability.

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