Telangana

Banks set to curtail business hours, operate with 50% staff

A spike in number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is likely to make banks in Telangana curtail business hours as well as operate many of their branches with half the staff strength.

Under active consideration following several hundred bank employees and officers getting infected with the virus, these and a few more measures were discussed at a special meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee on Wednesday, multiple sources said. The SLBC decision, especially date from when the changes come into force, are likely to be conveyed late in the night, they said.

According to the agenda of the meeting, the proposal was to have the arrangements in place from April 22-May 15. A clear picture will emerge on Thursday morning, source said.

The proposals likely to be implemented include limiting business hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closing the banks by 4 p.m. Broadly, this would mean one hour less available to customers to conduct transactions at the branches. On banks operating with 50% staff, a senior official of a leading public sector bank said it was unlikely to be implemented in small branches or facilities with less than eight staffers.

The 50% norm or alternate day working for the staffers will apply to controlling offices, administrative offices and large and medium branches.

In doing so, the banks, however, will ensure that all alternate (banking) delivery channels will remain operative. Back office services of the banks, including currency chests, ATM cash loading vendors, Core Banking Solutions projects, offices in data centre, data recovery centres, ATM back offices, security operation centres for cyber security, service branches, clearing houses and bank treasury offices and others facilities authorised by the head offices of the bank will function as per normal routine.

Leaders of bank unions said in State Bank of India, whose staff strength is 12,500 in the State, over 625 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 while the number across all banks could be anywhere between 1,200-1,500.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions representing bank employees and officers, had also appealed to the SLBC to consider various measures in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, including reduced working hours, functioning with limited staff, opting for hub banking or offering services at select branches as well as vaccinate the bankers.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 12:32:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/banks-set-to-curtail-business-hours-operate-with-50-staff/article34379483.ece

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