No rush to deposit invalid notes, but cash crunch may continue: Bankers

Chennai: There was no major last minute rush of people to deposit the demonetised 500/1,000 rupee notes in their accounts but the cash crunch may continue, bankers said on Fridaty.

The central government had earlier announced December 30 would be the last day for deposit of demonetised notes with the banks. People can deposit the invalid currencies with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till March 31, 2017.

The bankers said they may continue to manage the cash crunch situation at the present weekly withdrawal ceiling level, but the situation may turn tough if the withdrawal limits are relaxed very liberally.

“We have not seen any last minute rush to deposit the demonetised 500/1,000 rupee notes today (Friday), the last day to deposit them with the banks,” C.V. R.Rajendran, Managing Director and CEO, Catholic Syrian Bank told IANS.

“We have enough cash to issue our customers at the current weekly withdrawal ceiling limit of Rs 24,000. Even if the limit is increased to Rs 50,000 per week we can manage,” he added.

Rajendran however said that if withdrawal limit is increased beyond that, then the situation may turn bit difficult.

According to him, if RBI infuses additional cash of around Rs 200,000 crore or Rs 300,000 crore, then the cash crunch would really ease up.

Rajendran hoped things would settle down from the New Year onwards.

Public sector bank officials told IANS that there was no major rush to deposit the invalid notes.

“However the liquidity situation has not improved to comfortable levels. We continue to ration cash with those who come to withdraw money,” a Canara Bank employee, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

“The cash crunch continues. Most of the ATMs are dry. If the government relaxes the withdrawal limit upwards from Rs 24,000 per week, then the situation may turn tougher,” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H.Venkatachalam told IANS.

According to Andhra Bank Employees Union, Madras, General Secretary K.Thamaraiselvan, the number of cheques coming for clearance has gone up several times putting the staff, whose strength has not increased, at the cheque clearing centres to great difficulty.

“Prior to demonetisation the number of cheques that would come for clearance in Chennai clearing centre of Andhra Bank was around 20,000 per day. But now it has gone up to 70,000 cheques per day,” he said.

Union officials said the bank employees across the country were involved in managing the cash position for the past 50 days and may be doing so for some more time to come.

They said there was no time to attend to loan proposals and this quarter results may not be good for the banks.