Both public and private banks witnessed a huge rush of clients on Tuesday, a day before the country goes into an eight-day complete lockdown from Wednesday.
People thronged bank branches in the capital to withdraw cash soon after the services opened at 10:00am. Most banks struggled to manage queues of clients that got longer as the day rolled.Bank officials and employees were hard-pressed to provide services for clients maintaining health protocols.
Banks remained open from 10:00am to 3:00pm on Tuesday for clients while till 5:00pm to complete post-transaction ancillary activities.
Many bankers were unaware of the Bangladesh Bank circular ordering them to remain open until 3:00pm on Tuesday as BB issued the circular on Monday afternoon.
Long queues were seen in front of bank branches at Motijheel, Dilkusha, Moghbazar, Eskaton, Malibagh, Rampura and many other parts of the capital.
Customers had to wait for around an hour in some areas to get services from banks.
Abdul Mannan, deputy managing director of Sonali Bank Ltd, told the Daily Sun that bank officials provided services maintaining health safety guidelines inside bank branches. “So, it takes time to get services.”He also said the rush of people at banks was much more than any other day as a complete lockdown is set to be enforced from today while the month of Ramadan begins today.
At 11:30am, over 70 people were found in a queue outside the New Eskaton branch of Prime Bank Ltd.
A similar scene was seen at the Moghbazar branches of Sonali Bank and Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd.
“It’s taking more time to let clients enter the banks as they need to follow the health protocols, which increases the waiting time,” said a Sonali Bank official of Moghbazar branch.
The government imposed the eight-day strict lockdown today in an effort to contain the coronavirus infections.
Along with all government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices, all financial institutions, including banks, remained closed.