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Banks in J&K to curtail business hours

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Srinagar: In view of the steep rise in COVID19 cases across the country, the banks operating in J&K shall conduct banking business for public from 10 am to 2 pm with reduced staff presence in branches as well as in controlling offices.

According to a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be implemented with immediate effect till May 31, 2021 to safeguard people amid huge spike in COVID19 cases in the UT of J&K.

Pertinently, soon after the communication from Indian Banks Association to SLBC/UTLBC Conveners advising them to hold deliberations with stakeholders regarding circumstances and issue appropriate advisories to banks; the J&K Bank, Convener J&K UTLBC, conducted a meeting through video conferencing.

The meeting was attended by President (LBD/UTLBC), Vice President (LBD/UTLBC) and senior level officers of the banks operating in the UT of J&K including SBI, PNB, JKGB, EDB, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, UCO Bank, Canara Bank, PSB, and JKSCB.

In order to strike a balance between public health and economic necessities of the people, the stakeholders unanimously proposed measures for implementation by the banks. The measures include curtailing bank business time from 10 am to 02 pm with banking hours restricted from 10 am to 4 pm with reduced staff in branches as well as in controlling offices.

Urging the customers in particular and people in general to make use of digital channels for their banking needs and avoid visiting bank branches unnecessarily, Chairman and MD R K Chhibber said, “Together we have braved the first wave of the ongoing pandemic and with your support and cooperation, I believe, we shall overcome the second wave as well. However, we need to take precautions, follow guidelines issued by the government from time to time.”

“Let me reiterate, J&K Bank will stand by all its stakeholders ensuring uninterrupted banking services and financial support within the regulatory framework while strictly following COVID-19 related protocols”, he added.

Meanwhile, the UTLBC has also advised the local branches/offices of the banks to ensure uninterrupted banking services to the public through Branches, ATMs and Banking Correspondents besides facilitating credit needs in a smooth and seamless manner. Besides, all meetings, training events and camps shall be conducted through online mode to avoid mass gathering.

Furthermore, the UTLBC has urged all the banks to advise their customers to use the digital banking platforms, ATMs, Cash Deposit Machines, Recyclers, BC services etc., and abstain from visiting the Bank branches unless in case of unavoidable circumstances.

While implementing the new SOPs, the banks shall take all precautionary measures to prevent spread of the pandemic to safeguard the interest of the staff by ensuring the availability of sufficient masks, sanitizers and other safety devices—(KNO)

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