Leading private banks publish notices informing customers of branch closures
- Last Friday’s decision appears to have grossly disregarded the government’s decision to implement the current round of COVID-19 lockdowns
Banks and finance companies have been ordered to limit their services to “internal operations,” and not to offer regular banking services during the travel restrictions announced by the government.
Accordingly, private banks and finance companies will facilitate operations such as import-export trade and cheque clearance, but will keep their doors closed for regular customers during the ongoing travel restrictions.
This decision was taken last Friday after considering a request from the Central Bank Governor to allow the functioning of essential banking and financial services uninterrupted during the ongoing travel restrictions.
Almost all the private banks have already informed their customers, by way of issuing notices, of the closure of their bank branches for regular banking services.
However, State banks have not issued any such notices as of yesterday, and it was not clear whether they had also limited their services to “internal operations.”
According to a circular issued by the Inspector General of Police, dated June 4, 2021, as per the instructions of the Director General, Health Services, bank managers have been asked to furnish the names of 15 essential employees to carry out “internal operations” to the area police, so they could travel to work without any hindrances.
However, there have been a number of cases where the Police have obstructed bank employees from reporting to work, citing travel restrictions, and even going to the extent of ordering some bank managers to close down their branches.
During the first and second lockdown periods, banks were allowed to carry out their day-to-day operations largely unhindered, as such operations were considered as essential services to the functioning of the economy.
However, last Friday’s decision by health authorities appear to have grossly disregarded the government’s decision to implement the current round of COVID-19 lockdowns as less disruptive as possible to the general public and to businesses, and thereby to the larger economy.