The Bangladesh Bank on Thursday asked banks to keep open all their branches in the labour-intensive industrial areas during the general holidays announced by the government to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The banks were also directed to give their customers a range of services.
Although the government announced general holidays from March 29, the banks were providing banking services on a limited scale during the holidays.
The government has extended the holidays to April 23. April 24 and 25 are weekly holidays.
The central bank in a circular on Thursday also extended the bank transaction hours to three hours from two and a half hours, starting from 10:00am.
So, the office hours of the bank employees will end at 2:00pm.
Besides, the BB also asked the scheduled banks to extend their services.
In the circular, the BB specified that the banks would have to provide customers with cash deposit and withdrawal in cash or cheque, demand draft or pay-order issuance, salary and wages payment services along with loan sanction and approval upon completing all the required procedures.
Besides the services, the banks were also asked to receive treasury challan, interest and principal amount payments against national savings certificates on maturity, and other services which are executable through the BB’s payment and clearing system.
In the areas which are under lockdown, at least one branch of each bank must be kept open in consultation with the local administration, said the BB, adding that the transport of staff and employees must be ensured with the support of the local administration.
The banks were also asked to keep authorised dealer branches open in the divisional and metropolitan areas based on their own judgement to facilitate urgent and important foreign transactions.
The BB’s previous directive on keeping the branches of Sonali, Agrani, Janata, Rupali, Bangladesh Krishi and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan banks open in the locked down areas will remain valid.
To facilitate automated teller machine and card-based transactions, the banks have to feed into the ATMs adequate cash along with taking measures to keep the services up round the clock.
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