Banks yet to resume full operations one week after FG’s order

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Many commercial and merchant banks have not complied with Federal Government’s directive to resume full operations.

The order was part of the second phase of the lockdown announced on last week.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said the directive is part of the measures approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But one week after the directive was given, many commercial banks are still providing skeletal services in a few of their branches and in most cases, failing to activate their the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals.

According to The Nation report, most of the banks are constantly sending messages to their customers informing them about the branches that will be in operation every day of the week.

In many of the commercial banks visited last week, a large number of customers sat for hours under canopies to be attended to.

Some who could not wait returned home unhappy.

In an email to customers, GTBank listed its branches that will be open to serve customers from today to Thursday. It said its banking hours are from 8am to 5pm.

The bank said it will open only two branches in Abia State; 11 in Abuja; one in Adamawa State; one in Akwa Ibom State; three in Anambra State; one in Bauchi State; one in Bayelsa State; nine in Rivers State, and 46 in Lagos..

The email read: “When visiting any of our branches, kindly protect yourself by wearing a face mask at all times. It is also very important that you keep a safe distance when in a queue inside or outside the branch.

One of its officials said the bank has been reopening many of its branches in phases to ensure that if any branch had a case of COVID-19, it can easily move the customers to a nearly branch.

The official said: “We cannot expose all our branches at once to the customers, in case there is a case of COVID-19 in any to the branches, we can close it down and move the customers to the next branch. Gradual reopening of our branches is strategic on the part of the bank,” the source said.

Access Bank Plc said in an email to customers, that 2020 has redefined how people live and do business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that utmost safety is the new normal.

“Fortunately, with the improvements on our mobile, internet banking, most of your everyday financial transactions can safely be completed from the comfort of your home using your computer or phone,” it said.

The bank also regularly communicates to its customers, the branches that would be open on each business week, since the lockdown was lifted.

Wema Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc have however announced they would be resuming full operations in all their branches.

The banks said all their branches have resumed normal services from 8am to 4pm Monday through to Friday. They however advised staff and customers to remain cautious.

Wema Bank Managing Director/CEO Ademola Adebise, explained that “though work resumes in earnest, what is of utmost importance is the health and safety of all.”

He stressed that the bank will take necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

In an email to customers, Sterling Bank said that effective today, all its branches will now be opened from 8am to 4pm every. It advised customers to use digital channels where necessary.

”We love having you in our banking halls, but we’ll love it more if you use our alternative channels that are available for you 24/7. You can carry out almost, if not all your transactions with them,” the bank said.

The bank also advised its customers to “wear a face mask at all times when visiting any of our branches, and keep a safe distance when on the queue in and out of the branch.”

Head of Media, Unity Bank plc, Matthew Obiazikwor, said the bank has opened 90 per cent of its branches and that the remaining 10 per cent would begin operations today.