Banks operate on limited scale amid lockdown

Staff Correspondent

6 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

All the scheduled banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) operated in a limited capacity from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm on Monday, the first day of the weeklong lockdown meant for preventing the spike in coronavirus infection.

Bankers said they passed a busy day in making different online services smooth and accessible for the customers. 

Ali Reza Iftekhar, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), told the Daily Sun that on the first day of lockdown, bankers spent a busy day to ensure uninterrupted online and digital services.

He said many banks have to work after 2:00 pm on Monday to manage their workload.

Ali Reza, also the CEO of Eastern Bank Ltd, said the banking sector is operating with half of its manpower through rotation in staff duty as per the central bank’s directive.

Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Sunday afternoon issued a circular, asking the banks to operate for limited hours for customer from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm during the lockdown period.

The central bank has also asked the banks and NBFIs to prepare their respective business continuity plan (BCP) to deal with any crisis in the coming days.

BCP is usually defined as the capability of an organisation to continue the delivery of products or services in any disrupted situation. The BB asked banks to make a plan with a critical service management team.

The central bank has also increased the limit of person to person or P2P money transfer by 167 per cent to Tk 200,000 from Tk 75,000 a month. The clients will enjoy a toll-free transaction of up to Tk 40,000 a month.

The BB also asked the banks to suspend the collection of credit card bills for five days until April 11. It has also increased the limit of 'near field communication cards' by Tk 2,000 to Tk 5,000.               

The activities of Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH) or Central Bank's Automatic Clearance House will also be limited to facilitate emergency interbank transactions.

According to the new instructions, checks worth more than Tk 500,000 have to sent by 11.00 am for clearing. These checks will be settled by noon on the day.  The regular check has to be sent to the clearinghouse by 11:30 am. These checks will be settled at around 1.00 pm on the day. BACH will clear the check at this time until further instructions.