Banks to operate on limited scale during lockdown

Staff Correspondent

5 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has instructed all scheduled banks to operate in a limited scale --- from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm for customers and from 2.00 pm for internal office work during the lockdown.

The central bank took the decision as per the cabinet division’s instructions after analysing the new surge in coronavirus cases across the country. 

According to a BB circular, evening and weekly holiday banking activities will be closed until further notice. However, the foreign exchange related Authorized Dealers (ADs) branches will continue operation.

The bank branch / sub-branch / booth of the bank located in the sea/land/airport and customs house area will remain open and will follow the health rules in consultation with the local administration and port/customs authorities.

The BB instructions also asked banks to keep adequate banknotes at ATM booths with ensuring health protection and sanitisation measures. BB has also asked banks to ensure uninterrupted internet banking services.

Bangladesh Bank’s Department of Off-site Supervision issued a circular on Sunday and sent it to the top executives of all banks   

to keep banking services limited considering the current situation of coronavirus infection.

In addition to maintaining banking services in the public interest, it is also necessary to ensure proper attendance of officers and employees and proper observance of the health guidelines of the government and Bangladesh Bank regarding hygiene at the workplace.

Banks that have online facilities for cash deposits and withdrawals will ensure the overall convenience of customer transactions. At the same time, banks operating within the two kilometres of the City Corporation and District Headquarters can conduct banking activities through internal coordination from a convenient branch (excluding the authorized dealer branch) to ensure smooth customer service.

Exemption of loans already sanctioned and awaiting disbursement under special arrangements, activities under various incentives, payment of wages and allowances to workers in labour-intensive industrial areas and purchase of export bills in compliance with all credit regulations in the relevant field will continue to be performed.

To perform important and urgent foreign transactions, the service of foreign trade (authorized dealers) should also be continued, the central bank said.

The bank concerned will decide on the transaction schedule and activities of the agent banking at its discretion.

As the country is going for a week-long lockdown from Monday, people have rushed to banks to withdraw cash. In many areas of the city, long queues of people were seen outside the bank branches. 

Besides, no one was allowed in the bank without wearing masks.