Banks to work as usual

Banks will function as usual during the 10-day lockdown beginning May 12 in Telangana though questions remain on the customer footfall their branches are likely to receive.

“Banks, ATMs, insurance services and related activities” figure in the list of permitted activities according to the Government Order on the lockdown issued on Tuesday evening.

Though they have been asked to operate as usual, it is unlikely customers will find it easy to access branch banking services since the lockdown will be in force from 10 a.m. Most branches open at 10 a.m. while some start functioning from 9 a.m., sources in banks said, pointing to how keeping the facilities open when restrictions on movement of people are in place may not serve any purpose.

The worry is not just about getting customers as bank employees dependent on public transport could find the going tough, especially those who commute long distances to branches in semi-urban and rural areas. “Ever since the decision on lockdown was announced, we have been receiving calls from employees, especially women staff, saying they will manage to get to the branch in the morning, but how will they return home in the absence of public transport,” a source in Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank said.

Amid the raging pandemic, it is neither advisable nor easy for the employees to stay at a relative or friend’s place near the work place until the lockdown, the source said. For bank employees commuting by own vehicles, the essential services sticker many banks, including SBI were readying on Tuesday evening, are expected to pave the way past police checks. Many of them will also draw on their experience in handling the challenges when they worked during lockdown last year.

The United Forum of Bank Unions Convenor for Telangana R. Sriram said in the light of the State government decision, the UFBU has decided to reiterate its appeal and the decision of the State Level Bankers’ Committee to permit a reduction in bank business hours. Many of the banks were already operating with limited staff.

At another level being second week, it is a relatively lean period for banks as most customers visit branches earlier in the month to withdrawn salaries, pension or government benefits.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 12:26:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/banks-to-work-as-usual/article34538061.ece

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