State-run Indian Bank and Syndicate Bank have announced safety measures for their employees and customers amid the coronavirus outbreak. Syndicate Bank said ATM, branch banking and door step banking will be restricted and may be closed if necessary, depending upon the situation. This is being implemented to ensure minimum human contact. However, banking through digital channels like mobile and internet banking shall remain open, Syndicate Bank said in a release.
Rolling out Pay Safe-Stay Safe campaign for its customers and medical support for its staff, Indian Bank said banks and ATMs are crucial places which are frequented by the public in large numbers. This human contact might prove to be a hindrance in arresting the rapid spread of this virus as feared by the medical fraternity, it added.
Indian Bank MD and CEO Padmaja Chunduru said, "We are concerned about the well-being of our customers during these trying times and hence, request them to opt for the Banks’ seamless Digital Banking Services (DBS)."
Indian Bank said about 50 per cent of its employees would be present in each branch on any given day and non-critical roles would be identified to enable implementation of the work-from-home policy.
"We have entered into tie-ups with a few hospitals on a tele link with a doctor for preliminary consultation if any of our employees shows any symptoms. We would also assist in arranging for testing, as required," Indian Bank said.
If any employee tests positive, paid leave would be granted for treatment time. Meanwhile, all branches and offices have been advised to down shutters by 7 pm and ensure that adequate sanitisation measures of the premises are carried out, it added.
Syndicate Bank said its branches will not offer passbook printing services to avoid possible contact with the affected and asked customers to avail such facilities digitally.
"Self-isolation and social distancing are a must to ensure safety of people and society at large...Syndicate Bank will continue to do whatever is necessary to curtail spread of this virus while ensuring customer service as well as employee safety is met simultaneously," said Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, MD and CEO, Syndicate Bank.
HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank 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.
The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) asked all banks to prepare Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for uninterrupted availability of banking services through alternate delivery channels for the convenience of the public and expressed hope that all the member banks will rise to the occasion to collectively sail through the COVID-19 pandemic.