• Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Mad rush at banks for cash withdrawal ahead of lockdown

  • Published at 03:55 pm April 4th, 2021
File photo of tellers and officials, wearing PPEs, at a bank in Dhaka attending to clients amid a lockdown due to the pandemic Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Clients are withdrawing huge amounts of money to meet their essential needs

Bank branches in the capital were packed with people withdrawing money on Sunday, ahead of the weeklong countrywide lockdown that is being imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

This caused the banks to face intense cash withdrawal pressure as the lockdown will go into effect from today.

However, banks will remain open during the period — except on Fridays and Saturdays. Their transaction time was curtailed and reset from 10am to 12:30pm.

“Now we are facing a huge rush at almost all of our branches and ATM booths,” said an official of Bank Asia.

People are anxious about the lockdown, which is why they are stocking up on enough cash to last them throughout the period, he added.

Visiting different bank branches in the capital yesterday, Dhaka Tribune found bank officials facing difficulties handling the large number of clients standing in long queues in front of the cash counters.

“We carried on past the transaction period as our branch faced a mad rush of clients seeking cash withdrawal,” said Mahbubur Rahman, manager of Trust Bank Sena Kallyan Bhaban branch.

Clients are withdrawing huge amounts of money to meet their essential needs, he said.

BRAC Bank Managing Director and CEO Selim RF Hussain said that all of the bank’s branches faced huge cash withdrawal pressure as people went into panic mode following the announcement of a lockdown.

However, the pressure was slightly lower than last year owing to the development of digital banking facilities, he added.

The coronavirus pandemic had boosted digital banking activities as an increasing number of clients no longer want to visit bank branches, the BRAC Bank CEO said.

Al-Amin Haowlader, a businessman, said the weeklong countrywide lockdown may extend further, so he went to the bank to withdraw cash as Sunday was the last full-fledged transaction period.

Earlier in the day, the central bank asked all commercial banks to keep adequate cash at their branches and ATM booths to ensure unhindered services to their clients.

Various payment and clearing systems introduced by the central bank should continue for all types of deposits and withdrawals, distribution of allowance under the various social programmes of the government, remittance payments, and payment of utility bills, the Bangladesh Bank said.

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