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Banks resort to staggered working hours, skeletal staff amid Covid-19 challenges

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Banks have resorted to staggered working hours as they work with reduced manpower to maintain social distancing in the wake of coronavirus spread, besides encouraging customers to use digtial banking channels more often.

Country's largest lender SBI's Managing Director P K Gupta said they have implemented staggered time slots for banking hours across the country in consultation with state governments and the district/local authorities.

"In many states, we have restricted timings of our branch opening. Like in some states, it is 7-10 AM, in some states it is 8-11 AM and in some 10 AM to 2 PM," Gupta, Managing Director, Retail Banking, SBI said.

Private sector Standard Chartered said that from March 23, the bank branches are operational from 10 AM to 2 PM until further notice from Monday to Saturday (except 2nd and 4th Saturday).

It has also implemented staggered time slots like the Indore branch will be open from 11 AM to 2 PM, Dehradun 7-10 AM, Saharanpur 8-11 AM, Ludhiana and Jalandhar from 11 AM -2 PM.

Standard Chartered said Bangalore, two branches in Kolkata, Howrah, Chhindwara, Chandigarh and Amritsar branches are not operational until further notice as per notification from local authorities, and as a precautionary step to contain the incidence of COVID19.

"Also, we request you to be cautious while handling of physical currency notes as they may carry a risk of transmission. We encourage you to use digital channels for all banking transactions like Funds transfer, RTGS, NEFT, Bill Payments etc, which are available on online banking or SC Mobile," it in a communication to its customers.

The government has effected a lockdown till mid April to discourage people from venturing out of their homes so as to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus induced covid-19 disease.

It has claimed around 10 lives in India so far and more than 600 people are reported to have caught the virus, as per government''s latest data.

HDFC Bank has also made changes in its working hours and the lender is functioning from 10 am to 2 pm during March 23-31. It has also suspended passbook update and foreign currency purchase services temporarily as a precautionarymeasure due to coronavirus outbreak.

Under umbrella body Indian Banks'' Association (IBA), all banks have brought in the work from home policy for their staff and are working with limited number of people at branches.

The lockdown has provision for essential services only to keep running during this period and banking is one amongst such services.

All the banks have urged their customers to use digital and online means to meet their banking requirements.

Likewise, YES Bank branches will also function from 10 AM to 2PM until March-end.

"As part of Indian Bank's preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, our branches and call centres shall remain functional with reduced staff and staggered hours. We encourage you to use our digital platforms," Indian Bank said in a tweet to customers.

Similarly, other banks have also introduced changed timing for their customers if they have any requirement to meet the branch than to be doing digital banking.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 25 2020. 21:26 IST