All banks will remain closed during the lockdown from Wednesday until April 21
Bank branches and ATM booths in Dhaka have been packed with clients withdrawing money ahead of the strict lockdown, the government is set to enforce from Wednesday until April 21, aiming to choke the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The lenders faced huge cash withdrawal pressure since Tuesday morning as a large number of clients gathered at the bank branches following the announcement of closure of all the scheduled banks from Wednesday.
"Now we are facing a huge rush at almost all of our branches and ATM booths," said an official of Sonali Bank.
Mahbubur Rahman, Trust Bank's Sena Kallyan Bhaban branch manager, said that they are facing huge pressure from clients. Most of them are withdrawing cash ahead of the strict lockdown.
While visiting different bank branches in the capital, it was found that the officials were facing difficulties in handling a good number of clients waiting in long queues in front of the cash counters.
Also Read - Banks to remain closed amid strict lockdown
At places, people were seen standing in queues on the streets outside the bank branches and ATM booths amid sweltering heat.
Struggling for maintaining social distancing in lines, people said they are withdrawing money to meet their urgent needs and in fear of uncertainty.
Jahangir Alam, a client of Trust Bank, presumed that the strict lockdown might be extended further and the cash needed to be withdrawn for that purpose.
Rabiul Islam, a client of Bank Asia, said it is a kind of suffering that the banks would remain closed amid the lockdown.
For Tuesday, the banks will remain open till 3pm as the central bank extended the transaction hour by two hours.
Contacted, Brac Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Selim RF Hussain said all of the bank branches faced huge cash withdrawal pressure as people were so panicked owing to the announcement of lockdown.
Also Read - Tuesday's banking hour extended till 3pm
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has boosted the digital banking activities as the increasing number of clients do not want to visit the branches now, he added.
On Monday, the Bangladesh Bank issued a notice saying all the scheduled banks would remain closed amid the strict lockdown.
It said bank branches, sub-branches, and its ATM booths located in the sea, land and airports, as well as customs areas should be opened at all times by consulting with the local administration and customs authorities.
It also asked the lenders to keep adequate cash and internet services at their ATM booths to ensure uninterrupted service to their clients.
Meanwhile, the daily withdrawal limit from ATM booths has been extended to Tk1 lakh during the strict lockdown period.