With the Union government’s decision to stop allowing the exchange of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from day before midnight, it led to a lot of citizens rushing to open bank accounts, just like predicted.
Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram saw a lot of people rushing to deposit the old notes in their newly opened bank accounts. Reportedly, 44 banks in the region have opened nearly 15,000 bank accounts since the demonetisation. 5,000 of those accounts were opened yesterday alone. SBI itself opened 3,139 accounts from November 9-23.
In the north coastal zone, most of the accounts were opened yesterday in SBI and Andhra Bank. The bankers who were busy exchanging the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and handing out the new Rs 2000 or smaller denomination notes, besides loading the ATMs with the new currency, were swamped yesterday by customers wanting to open new bank accounts. Customers who were waiting for the rush to ease before exchanging their money rushed to deposit the same.
The old notes can now only be exchanged over the counter at RBI. Even though Visakhapatnam is the largest city in the state, it lacks an RBI counter, the nearest situated at Central Bank in Hyderabad. Special counters were hence put up at banks to accept applications of those wanting to open new accounts. The new account holders are being handed a passbook and debit card within a day. There are also bank officials appointed in mandals for explaining the perks of cashless transactions.
Despite the improvement in number of people using bank accounts after the Jan Dhan scheme, the demonetisation has finally pushed people towards banking.