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Banks, DSE urge clients to avoid branches, brokerage houses on safety grounds

  • Published at 09:06 pm March 22nd, 2020
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The authorities encourage clients for digital transaction

Banks are focusing more on digital banking services to discourage customers from physically visiting branches to contain spread of the novel coronavirus.

They are now advising clients to use alternative banking channels such asinternet banking, ATMs and mobile financial services (MFS), according to industry insiders.

“Now we are focusing more on digital banking services and discouraging clients from visiting bank branches physically unless there is an emergency,” said Abu Reza Md Yeahia, Deputy Managing Director of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd.

Islami Bank already took a number of protective measures to avoid the spread of the virus and build awareness among its staff and clients through circulars and video conferencing, he added. 

Mutual Trust Bank (MTB), another private commercial bank, already sent text messages to its clients to use alternative banking channels unless there is an emergency to visit bank branches.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, MTB's Managing Director Syed Mahbubur Rahman said 50% of their staff began working from home beginning yesterday.

Pregnant bank employees were specially asked to stay home until further notice, he added.

Dhaka Bank also requested its clients via SMS to use ATMs, point of sales machines and internet banking for their bank-related dealings, according to sources at the bank.

Prime Bank advised its clients not to rush at its branches and avail its services through internet-based banking services.

ONE Bank yesterday advised its clients to prefer the available digital services of the bank on safety ground.

“Dear ONE Bank customer, we value your safety and recommend you to avail our digital banking service through ONE App, OBL i-Banking and OBL ATM,” reads a text message of the private commercial bank.

Bangladesh Bank on Thursday instructed scheduled banks to ensure continuous banking services through ATMs (automated teller machines), agent banking and mobile financial services.

The banking regulator also increased the transaction limit of mobile financial services, allowing subscribers to cash out up to Tk1,000 without any charge made in a single day.

Scheduled banks, however, demanded the BB cut banking transaction time, which is currently from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

As of yesterday, Covid-19 has killed almost 13,084 people around the world and infected over 307,277 people.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed 27 cases of corona virus infection and two deaths from the virus till yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) on Thursday encouraged investors to conduct share transactions through mobile apps and online trading platforms amid the ongoing situation.

Besides, a top leading stock brokerage house– UCB Capital Management Ltd– yesterday advised its clients to remain at home and continue stock trading activities using mobile apps, e-mailing or over phone calls to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.