Money & Banking

Covid-19: IBA puts forth precautionary guideline for banks

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 19, 2020

Recommends relocation of top management, digital payments for customers

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has put together a document on standard operating procedure (SOP) for banks, entailing monitoring of critical installations such as the data-centre hosting core banking solution, ATM switch, treasury; relocating top officials to different offices; provision of thermal scanners at entry points of branches/offices; and encouraging customers to use digital platforms for all banking transactions.

As part of business continuity plans, the IBA suggested key officials managing critical installations need not be in the same office, and may consider staggering duties. Access to these installations should be restricted to officials after ensure that they are in good health. Banks also need to prepare a backup plan for any eventuality.

Relocate top officials

As per the document, it is advisable to relocate the top officials in different offices. It observed that the entire top management team (MDs and CEOs, executive director, chief general managers, general managers) are located in the same office. In the unforeseen event of quarantining the headquarters, the entire top management will be affected.

The document recommended splitting treasury functions at different locations. In the event of a complete shutdown of the building housing treasury, an alternate disaster recovery centre should be kept ready.

In the event of a complete shutdown of Mumbai, where most of the banks have treasury and data centres, an alternate disaster recovery centre should be in place.

Human resources

The SOP suggested that biometric attendance should be replaced with a physical register for the time being. Any employee having flu symptoms should be advised not to come to office and to consult a doctor.

Banks could consider staggered working hours for branches to avoid the risk of peak time travel for employees.

In office

Banks should provide thermal scanners at entry points of branches/offices for detection of fever among staff and customers/visitors. An “open door policy” may be adopted wherever possible to avoid touching the door handles.

Services could be offered to customers at a reasonable distance. The document added that employees handling cash be provided with masks and disposable gloves.

Banks providing Aadhar Enabled Payment Systems via business correspondents (BCs), especially in rural areas, should ensure that BCs are provided with adequate stock of sanitisers. BCs should be instructed to sanitise the customers’ thumb before initiating a transaction through the devices.

Bank customers

The SOP recommended that customers use digital platforms for all banking platforms as far as possible. It also suggested that customers should cut down on the number of visits to the branches to avoid crowding.

Customers should clean hands using sanitiser while entering a branch and cooperate with branch staff to maintain hygiene in the branch.

Published on March 19, 2020
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