Several banks have revised their operating times and suspended non-essential banking services because of the rising novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India. Banking services like passbook updates, counter cheque collections have been restricted as the banks promote social distancing.
With India under complete lockdown for 21 days to curb the spread of coronavirus, top lenders like State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank are taking steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Banks have reduced staff, changed timings and are promoting social distancing by asking customers to use internet banking and mobile banking facilities instead of visiting the branches.
Here is a look at what the various banks have announced so far:
HDFC Bank has suspended services like passbook updates and foreign currency purchases. While the counter cheques collection service is halted, bank customers can still deposit cheques in the cheque-drop boxes. HDFC Bank has changed its working hours and will function from 10 am to 2 pm till March 31, except on Saturday. “In the interest of public health and safety, we will be withdrawing the following services temporarily of passbook updates and foreign currency purchase,” it said in a communication sent to its customers on Sunday.
ICICI Bank informed its customers through SMS that “our branches shall remain open with required hygiene steps and reduced staff”. “For the same reason, our contact centre will also function with reduced staff. We urge you to stay safe and bank from home using iMobile/Internet Banking for all essential banking services,” it said in the communication.
India’s largest bank SBI has not changed its working hours but, has barred services like account opening, cash withdrawals, passbook printing, currency exchange services.
Canara Bank has also made no revisions in the work timings but, has reduced non-essential services — passbook printing, currency exchange. The bank has also reportedly asked its staff to not have over 15 per cent of its total working strength in the office.
Kotak Mahindra Bank
Kotak Mahindra Bank informed its customers through email that in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all its customers and employees, the bank is taking some proactive steps at their branches. Kotak Bank has temporarily revised its business hours w.e.f. 23 March 2020 till 31 March 2020. From Monday to Saturday, the bank timings will be from 10 am to 2 pm. The bank will remain closed on 2nd and 4th Saturday.