Banks ensure business continuity, urge to utilise online services

Muscat - 

Following the directives issued by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), the financial institutions in the sultanate have announced various measures to ensure business continuity management and smooth functioning of the banking system amid ongoing restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.

In a latest circular, the CBO has instructed the banks, and finance and leasing companies to be prepared for additional demand for banking and financial services from customers in the wake of a slew of measures announced by the Supreme Committee to fight the pandemic.

‘The banking sector should encourage customers to use online banking services and promptly inform them if there are any changes with regard to the availability of their services,’ CBO said in the circular issued last week.

The CBO, while announcing the stimulus measures last week, asked the banks to ensure that they should take steps to minimise physical interaction with customers without disturbing normal banking transactions.

Bank Muscat in a press statement on Monday said that it has been working in alignment with local and global actions that are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

‘The bank has implemented the measures announced by the Supreme Committee for dealing with COVID-19 and also those by the regulators to ensure the safest possible work environment and to prevent the spread of the virus,’ Bank Muscat said.

While adhering to Supreme Committee’s recommendations to minimise the pandemic risk, Khalid al Kayed, CEO of Bank Nizwa, said, “Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and community. We are taking precautionary steps in all our branches to protect our employees and the general public, and encourage our customers to avail of our extensive list of e-channel services that meet all their financial requirements.”

Various other banks in Oman have also informed their customers to restrict their visits to branches to bare minimum only, and should utilise online services for all their banking needs. Randomly, some banks are also measuring body temperatures of visitors to their branches to check the spread of virus.

Some banks have also fitted their ATMs with sanitiser dispensers for customers to be able to sanitise their hands before and after dealing with physical cash.

 

Business continuity

Banks in the sultanate have conveyed their intentions that they will continue to carry out their operations even during challenging circumstances.

‘It is imperative to reaffirm certain directives related to business continuity management and take necessary precautions and measures to ensure that the sector continues its operations in an uninterrupted manner,’ the CBO said in its circular.

Bank Muscat said that it is taking great care to ensure that operations continue uninterrupted and banking services remain accessible to all customers even as safety and wellbeing of all remains a top priority.

Similarly, Alizz Islamic Bank in a press statement said, ‘As part of the business continuity plan, a secondary team was transferred on March 15 to the bank’s business continuity site to ensure that services are not interrupted in case of any adverse situation and that customers’ banking requirements continue to be served.’

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