Bank Officials Protest RBI’s New Rule

Bank officials are miffed with the central banking body and demanding RBI to withdraw its new rule

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It has been over 40 days since the government announced the demonetisation policy, and people are tired of RBI’s constantly changing rules. Members of All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), on Wednesday, protested RBI’s latest decision to allow deposits of above Rs. 5000, in the scrapped Rs. 500 and Rs 1000 notes, only once per account till December 30. It contradicts its earlier regulation, on November 8, to allow customers to deposit the scrapped notes until December 30.

According to the new regulation, bank officials will have to ‘investigate’ customers who deposit more than Rs 5000 and question them as to why they waited so long before depositing the old notes. Bank officials can only accept the cash after receiving a ‘satisfactory explanation’. AIBOC members protested at various RBI offices all over the country (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Jaipur) and demanded that RBI withdraw the regulation as they feared public anger due to it. Protesters in Delhi tried to march from RBI’s regional office to Jantar Mantar, but were taken to Parliament Street police station.

The Economic Times quoted a Mumbai bank branch manager as saying, “Bankers have become the soft target in this entire demonetisation exercise. It is not the job of bankers to identify tax evaders. Most banks have reproduced the circular issued by RBI to supply branches and left it to the branch managers to interpret what ‘satisfactory’ means.”

During the protest, AIBOC members objected to RBI’s policies saying that they were against PSU banks and the public. The Indian Express quoted AIBOC General Secretary Harvinder Singh as saying, “Why are HDFC, Axis, and ICICI banks getting all the cash and we are struggling to get a few lakhs? We are caught in a tough situation when RBI changes circulars – people know it from the media and confront us, whereas it sometimes takes three days for a circular to reach banks.”

Officials of PSU banks in Gurgaon, where RBI doesn’t have a regional office, staged a protest, at lunchtime, outside the Lead District Manager (LDM) R.C. Nayak’s office, asking for “smoother supply of cash”. PSU banks are unhappy that they are not getting enough cash in smaller denominations.