Amid lockdown in several states to contain the spread of COVID-19, banks will ensure at least four essential services — cash deposits and withdrawals, cheque deposition, remittances, and government transactions — at their branches from March 23. For the rest, depending on the situation in each branch, the banks may suspend other services, Indian Banks Association (IBA) Chief Executive Sunil Mehta said.
IBA, lobby group of the Indian banking industry, said bank customers should visit the branch only in case of absolute necessity. Bank employees are also facing the same challenges that all people are. Most of the services that banks offer are available online. Customers should use the mobile and online banking channels for non-essential services.
The banks are working round-the-clock to ensure all digital channels are up to date and have all the information that you may need during this period.
Mehta said management committee of the association had discussed options to support customers, including emergency credit, keeping in mind hardships that many establishments may face due to economic slump and lockdown. State Bank of India has framed a scheme to offer emergency loans to existing borrowers whose operations are impacted by COVID-19.
The loans — at 7.25 per cent (per annum) fixed rate of interest — is aimed at meeting the temporary liquidity mismatch arising out of COVID-19. It will be in force till June 30. The association has advised member banks to explore similar scheme for their customers, Mehta said.