The Central Bank (CB) yesterday issued a new directive aimed at ensuring uninterrupted banking services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic after an uproar over notice of the closure of branches.
It said, with the approval of Director General of Health Services and Inspector General of Police, all banks have been requested to carry out essential banking services strictly adhering to all relevant safety measures and guidelines issued in providing banking services under the ongoing travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.
Accordingly, all banks should make necessary arrangements to provide uninterrupted banking services during COVID-19 complying with the following.
Opening of bank branches only to provide essential services such as trade financing, treasury operations, clearing activities, payment of pensions/salaries, responding to other urgent requests/ inquiries of customers etc.
The number of staff permitted to report to work in branches of banks should not exceed 15 per branch
Staff should report to work on a roster basis, or the branches should only be opened on specified days taking note of specific requirements of customers of each branch
Branch managers should obtain prior approval of the nearest Police Station for the travel of the relevant staff by producing a request letter
Banks should publish notices informing the public how essential banking services can be obtained
Take adequate measures to keep bank customers informed of the contact details for obtaining essential services, including displaying of contact details of branch staff at the branch and hotline numbers considering the various preferred modes of transacting
Ensure customer inquiries are answered and resolved expeditiously
Continue to facilitate the use of electronic/digital channels including ATMs, Cash Deposit Machines, Cash Recycling Machines and mobile banking vehicles