While millions are struggling to deposit or exchange the demonetised currency and withdraw money from banks, it is the staff of nationalised and private banks who are facing the brunt of the government move to spike the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
In bank branches across the country, officers and staff, many of them women, are working extra hours, at times extending beyond midnight, and managing frayed tempers as they try to ensure that the most number of people queuing up are facilitated — even as the flow of the new currency notes from their head offices has been inadequate.
“People have to understand that we came to know of the demonetisation like everyone else. The banks were hardly prepared to cater to the huge demand for exchange of notes, currency deposits and withdrawals,” the Cluster Head of a leading private bank in Chandigarh told IANS even as he requested agitated people to show patience
A senior official with Axis Bank in Lucknow is cut up with the long working hours. “At times, it is scary to deal with the people. Normal banking has gone for a toss,” he pointed out.
While the manpower at banks is ready to deliver, the technology and other logistics fail at times, putting the bankers in a nightmare situation vis-a-vis the public.
Bank officials also fear that with an unusally large amount of cash coming in every day, if the entries do not match, they will be in trouble later when the immediate crisis is behind them.
Be it Chandigarh or Chennai, or Maharashtra or Manipur, the problems and plight of the bank staff is the same.
Bank officers say it is not only the public dealing which is testing them — it is also the lack of information about the ever-changing rules for disbursal and clear instructions from the top.
In the absence of the new Rs 500 notes, which the Reserve Bank of India has not supplied to any bank in Bengaluru, customers have been squabbling for any lower notes, especially Rs 100 and Rs 50.With the queues long and tempers running high, bankers have been at the receiving end of tired and impatient customers.
“The treasury chest has been giving only Rs 2,000 notes and few bundles of Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes. With not many depositing lower currency notes and reluctant to take the Rs 2,000 notes, our tellers are stressed out due to friction and heated exchanges with the customers,” said one officer.