How banks are going to operate during the complete lockdown in India

Banks are promoting social distancing and asking customers to use digital services – but one can go to a bank branch if there is an urgent need

How banks are going to operate during the complete lockdown in India

These are uncertain times. In view of the pandemic that has brought the world to a halt, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown in the country for 21 days to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, essential services such as grocery stores, medical shops, hospitals, and banks have been allowed to remain open.

Citizens of India have been asked not to venture out of their homes unless they want to buy essentials, use important services, or have a dire emergency. The government has also taken certain steps that will apply to all banks. It has reduced charges for digital transactions and ATM cash withdrawals, and the minimum balance requirement fee has also been waived for a period of three months.

Leading banks in India, while continuing to serve the public, are taking steps to safeguard their employees and customers. Here are some key changes:

Netbanking and mobile banking

All banks are requesting customers to avoid visiting the bank branches and practice social distancing by using various digital mediums such as netbanking and mobile banking to perform banking services. Services that can be easily carried out online include fund transfer, payment of credit card dues, viewing bank statements, opening FDs, depositing cash in PPF account, checking passbook, payment of bills, etc.

Related: Phone bank scams you should avoid falling for

Restricted timings

Leading banks such as HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank have cut short their operating hours. They are now open only from 10 am to 2 pm, with alternate Saturdays and all Sundays off. This is being done to limit the exposure and maintain a healthy and safe environment for employees and customers.

Reduced staff

Banks have also reduced the number of staff members working during the pandemic. Only core employees who are needed to ensure smooth functioning of bank branches have been asked to come to work. All other employees have been requested to work from home. 

Limited services

Banks will offer only limited services during the nationwide lockdown. Customers can visit their local branch to deposit or withdraw money. They will also be able to deposit cheques and use remittances services to send money to their loved ones. ATMs will also function across the country for these services. Banks are requesting customers to use ATMs rather than crowding bank branches. Non-essential services like updating of passbook, new loans, foreign currency exchange etc. have been stopped for now.

Related: How Unified Payment Interface (UPI) can change the way you bank

Safety protocols

Banks are taking utmost care, such as sanitising each branch and ensuring that people stand at least a metre away from each other. They are also putting in place business continuity plans designed for such unprecedented situations. FM Sitharaman announces economic relief measures to quash coronavirus impact. Read here.

 

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