Money & Banking

IBA tells member banks to keep branches open selectively in places under lockdown/transport service suspension

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 23, 2020

The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) said its member banks may selectively keep their branches open at locations where lockdown and suspension of public transport services have been announced by local authorities/state governments to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The association said the branches may be selectively kept open after due consultations with the local state government/ authorities to carry out basic essential transactions ― cash deposits and withdrawals, clearing of cheques, remittances and government transactions ― from March 23 onwards.

The IBA move comes in the wake of the government taking a decision to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID-19.

As per the government’s decision all train services, including suburban rail services, metro rail services and inter-state passenger transport will be suspended till March 31 in these districts.

The 75 districts are spread across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the UTs Chandigarh, and Jammu & Kashmir.

IBA, in a circular to banks, said convenor banks of State Level Bankers’ Committees (SLBCs) and Lead District Managers (LDMs) of districts should proactively consult the state administration to chalk out feasible Business Continuity Plans (BCPs).

The BCP should ensure uninterrupted availability of banking services through alternate delivery channels for the convenience of the public.

The Association said member banks may empower their Regional/ Zonal/ Circle Heads to take appropriate decisions in the matter, it added.

Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation General Secretary Devidas Tuljapurkar, through a letter, requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to issue uniform guidelines to all banks to run their operations with skeleton staff andlimited banking activities in the state. Maharashtra CM is also the SLBC Chairman for the sate,

Subhash Sawant, General Secretary, All India Central Bank Employees’ Congress, said banks should ensure that only four to five customers are allowed to enter the branch premises at a time. The other customers should be asked to queue up outside, maintaining a minimum distance of one metre from each other. The next set of four to five customers should be allowed to enter the branch upon exit of the customers who had entered before them, he added.

Published on March 23, 2020

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