Banks to work for 4 hours from today

Beginning Thursday, bank branches across Telangana will remain open for four hours, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

This was decided unanimously by member banks at a special meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) that was convened on Wednesday in the light of a 10-day lockdown that came into force in Telangana.

The new timings will be in force till May 20 and if required would be reviewed for further extension, a communication from SLBC after the meeting to Controller of all banks in the State said.

Sources in banks said while the new timings also translated into a reduction in the working hours, they are bound to benefit the customers given that the branches otherwise will remain open when the lockdown restrictions are in place (from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m.). Most of the bank branches at present function from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thus, the decision to open the branches at 8 a.m. would result in customers getting a couple of hours to bank. On Wednesday, most branches across the State wore a deserted look with the lockdown conditions making people stay indoors unless there is an absolutely unavoidable reason to step out.

A communication from SLBC said “it was felt that to provide banking services to customers, it is necessary to change the bank timings, so that the general population of Telangana is not put to any inconvenience and can carry out the banking transactions with ease. Also, keeping in view restrictions imposed on public transport, customers/bank staff shall be facing lot of hardships in travelling to branches.”

The SLBC had last month too decided on a reduction in the business hours of the branches, amid the surge in number of COVID-19 positive cases, something the Indian Banks’ Association had also recommended. But it did no go ahead with the proposal pending approval of the State government.

However, with the lockdown the circumstances have changed, sources said about the latest decision. Besides a change in the timings, the SLBC meeting decided that “the Staff at branches/administrative Offices may be allowed to work on rotational basis complying with all COVID19 guidelines issued by Central and State governments from time to time. However, Controllers of Banks would take decision in this regard for effective implementation at the ground level without affecting customer service.” Sources said many of the large banks were operating with 50% staff on any given day as part of their plans to ensure business continuity.

The SLBC meeting also appealed to the State government to give priority for vaccinating all bank staff and their family members.

United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) Convenor of Telangana R. Sriram welcomed the decisions since the umbrella body of bank unions had made multiple representations in recent weeks seeking such measures.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 2:55:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/banks-to-work-for-4-hours-from-today/article34545657.ece

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