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Coronavirus: SBI sets up quick response team for staff safety

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

In a bid to keep its staff motivated amid the coronavirus outbreak, the country's biggest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has set up a quick response team (QRT) to ensure the safety of its employees.

For the safety of its customers, the bank has provided sanitisers and soaps across the branches with thermal scanner at its bigger offices, sources said.

The bank has set up a helpline number manned by doctors and psychologists to assist its staff and employees to deal with the coronavirus outbreak as well as stress and anxiety related to this, sources said.

Staff from any part of the country can hook to the helpline set up by the HR department in times of need.

Besides, the bank is providing protective gears, such as masks, and hand senitisers to its staff for their well-being.

March being the closing month of the financial year, banking activity usually picks up, the sources. They added that the bank is all set to meet these challenges right from tax collection to fund transfer.

The bank also has a contingency plan in place to deal with any exigency, the sources added.

SBI, having staff strength of about 3 lakh and over 23,000 branches, also disabled biometric attendance system till further order.

The bank is also encouraging its customers to use digital banking platform of the bank rather than branch banking in order to help check spread of disease.

With a view to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, SBI has opened a COVID-19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL) for its business customers to meet any liquidity mismatch.

The additional liquidity facility will provide funds up to Rs 200 crore and will be available till June 30, SBI had said in a circular issued on Friday. The loan will be offered at an interest rate of 7.25 per cent with a tenure of 12 months.

With a view to provide some degree of relief to the borrowers whose operations are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, it is decided to make available additional liquidity credit facilities to the eligible borrowers by way of ad-hoc facilities -- CECL -- to tide over the current crisis situation, the bank said in a circular to all branches.

The bank said the credit line is open for all standard accounts that have not been classified as SMA-1 or -2 as on March 16 are eligible to avail this credit line.

Special mention accounts (SMAs) was introduced to identify those accounts that have the potential to become a non-performing account or stressed asset.

SMA-1 accounts are those where the overdue period is between 31 to 60 days, while in SMA-2, accounts overdue is between 61 to 90 days.

Borrowers can maximum avail 10 per cent of the existing fund-based working capital limits, subject to a cap of Rs 200 crore, the bank said.

According to a recent survey conducted an industry body, over 50 per cent of the companies in the country see impact of coronavirus on their operations. Nearly 80 per cent businesses have witnessed decline in cash flows due to the global pandemic.

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

First Published: Sun, March 22 2020. 15:32 IST