BB scales down banking hours amid surge in virus cases
Published : Thursday, 9 April, 2020 at 5:39 PM Count : 556
Bangladesh Bank has scaled down banking hours for customers to 12.30pm as the coronavirus crisis intensified.
The central bank on Thursday issued a circular, ordering banks to remain open until 2pm and conduct customer transactions between 10 am to 12.30 pm, starting on Sunday.
The new banking hours will be applicable to bank branches that have remained open during the lockdown from Apr 12.
Coronavirus fears deepened among bankers after an official in the principal branch of Agrani Bank tested positive for the disease, Bangladesh Bank spokesman Sirajul Islam said.
“The central bank considered the overall circumstances and changed the banking hours,” he said.
The government has been enforcing a countrywide shutdown since Mar 26 in an effort to limit the spread of the outbreak but banks have been asked to remain open as an emergency service on a limited scale.
The banking hours were changed three times during the shutdown.
Initially, the central bank fixed the banking hours from 10 am to 12 pm with the banks remaining open until 1.30 pm.
On Apr 2, the banking hours were extended to 1 pm for customers, with the banks remaining open until 3 pm.
Finally, the banking hours were rescheduled from 10 am to 12.30 pm, starting on Sunday, with the banks to be open until 2 pm.
However, the banks may keep some of their branches open until 1.30 pm for foreign currency transactions.
Those banks located in the coronavirus cluster areas should remain closed, Bangladesh Bank said.
It also ordered the banks to ensure the social distancing measure is maintained in the banks.