The Indian banking sector has decided to trim down its services for the mandated lock-down period, that is till March 31, 2020. The public banks have temporarily suspended non-essential services, such as passbook updation, account opening and note exchange.
Banking, being an essential sector, cannot be shut down and hence, these measures have been adopted to encourage customers to stay in.
On March 20, multiple banks instructed their offices and staff to work at 50 per cent capacity. This move is essential to practise social distancing and prevent the spread of the contagion. In a similar move, the Centre mandated only 50 per cent of central-government employees to attend office and the rest to stay home.
There have been no change in working hours in many public-sector banks, including SBI, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda. Canara Bank and SBI have suspended services they deem non-essential, such as passbook printing, note exchange, cash withdrawal, account opening and cash deposits below a sum of one lakh.
Bank of Baroda, going one step further for their customers, has decided to waive the transaction fee on online payments till June 19, 2020.
In the private sector, HDFC Bank, Kotak, IndusInd and ICICI are the ones who have slashed their working hours, and will now function from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. till March 31. HDFC and IndusInd have suspended non-essential services, such as foreign currency exchange and passbook printing. Others, including Axis, Kotak and ICICI continue to provide their full range of services.