Banking services accessible, BSP assures public

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) – August 7, 2021 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has directed banks and financial institutions to ensure the continuous delivery of banking services as the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces were placed under enhanced community quarantine to slow the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

The central bank’s head office in Manila and Security Plant Complex in Quezon City will operate as the staff of mission-critical departments and support units will continue to report on-site, under shortened working hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The BSP also reminded banks to adopt necessary protocols against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, particularly the Delta variant.

“This is in line with efforts to maintain banking industry operations despite alternative work arrangements and heightened restrictions imposed in Metro Manila and other localities during this period,” the regulator said in a statement.

Malacañang has placed NCR and adjacent provinces under strict lockdown from Aug. 6 to 20 amid the continued spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

Banks in affected areas have announced shortened banking hours as the government has also imposed a longer curfew of 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. and only authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) are allowed to go out.

For one, Security Bank announced that branches in areas under enhanced community quarantine would operate at a shortened banking hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., while those in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine would be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Likewise, branches in areas under general community quarantine would observe banking hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Operating hours of certain branches may differ, following mall hours or local ordinance,” Security Bank said in an advisory.

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) also announced shorter banking hours for branches in areas under enhanced community quarantine from 9am to 2pm and for branches in Iloilo province from 9am to 1pm.

“In view of the declaration of enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila, Gingoog City, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, and Cagayan de Oro City, select BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank branches nationwide will remain open, with shortened business hours, to serve your banking needs.” BPI said.

It urged clients to plan their branch trips accordingly.

“We encourage you to stay at home and use BPI Online and BPI Mobile app for your everyday banking needs,” the 170-year old bank said..

For his part, Philippine National Bank president and chief executive officer Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso said the Lucio Tan-led bank is waiving the fees for electronic fund transfers via InstaPay & PESONet during the strict lockdown and quarantine measures to encourage more customers to stay at home amidst the ongoing health concerns brought by the new Delta variant.

“We are encouraging our customers to use digital banking. We see digital banking has gained ground during the pandemic as customers learn more about the benefits of these services and how to use them,” Veloso said.

PNB branches will remain open from 9am to 3pm during the effectivity of the enhanced community quarantine but the listed bank is giving customers the safer option of banking online to minimize the need to go out of their homes to visit branches and ATMs.

“The bank continues to support our customers and the overall economy during these challenging times. We are giving our customers various access to cash for them to continue availing of their essential needs,” Veloso said.

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