Most countries of World are facing a third world war of sorts, not against each other, but against one enemy called COVID 19 pandemic, an enemy which but all the countries are fighting together. A strict lockdown has been imposed all over the world. Government of India has announced a strict and preventive lockdown across the country applicable for one and all. Only providers of essential services, which include the banking fraternity, amongst a few others have been exempted from the curfew like situation.
Banks across India are working at almost full strength to ensure availability of essential banking services for their customers, amidst this dangerous global health crisis. All the bank staff is performing their duties diligently, by accepting it as a social responsibility and fully supporting the system and guidelines of the Government. Banks are rendering their services even in the metro cities like Mumbai, Pune and Indore which have more susceptibility of exposure to this deathly virus. Although all the Banks have limited their services, there has been no stepping back or shutting down the shutter. Customers have been contacted, made aware of the grave situation, and updated about the change in timings of the banking hours. They have been informed that they need to physically visit the Bank only for essential and important work. Banks have gone one step ahead and proactively put special task teams in place to make courtesy calls to all their customers and requesting them to follow the Government authority’s guidelines and requesting them to stay home and stay safe.
The Banks have also adjusted their working culture by reducing business hours and modifying shift operations. The Banks have given deferment option for 3 months for all the credit facilities, by reducing business fees and charges, and enhancing digital transactions. Banks have designed well-thought-of short term loan products to help small businessmen and corporates. This just indicates that the Banking sector is doing everything in its power to prevent the crashing of the derailing economy.
Even during this critical phase, all the essential banking services have be in place and the Banks are gearing up to support the real demand for funds to aid smooth economic recovery. During all this, a few bankers have even suffered the danger of exposure and infection and lost their lives as well. Yet this has not broken the spirit of the banking fraternity and all the bankers have displayed extraordinary courage, and continued to serve the customers and deliver invaluable contribution to the society. The Bankers are working like a fearless, disciplined and dedicated Civil Army, knowing the fact that any moment they too may get infected by this Corona Virus.
The Co-operative sector always stands at the forefront and stand tall and boldly at the time of the COVID19 crisis. This sector has also made donations in handsome amounts for extending assistance to the unfortunately infected and to provide the required medical supplies.
COVID 19 will have many implications in shaping our economic and financial behavior in the the coming period. The Ministry of Finance and RBI have announced various measures to mitigate the hardship of individuals, business entities and industrialists. The Government began its economy rescue in right earnest with Rs. 1.70 lakh crore coronavirus counter. The Reserve Bank of India has joined the big fight with announcing a host of measures aimed at minimizing the damage from Covid-19 by reducing rates.
All sectors and industries would witness drastic changes in the business figure, which will create direct impact on the banking industry. At the moment in the present situation, the it is only the Banks which are catering to all the population irrespective of region, without consideration about generation of profit and break-even point, which in itself would be a huge challenge for this financial year. The most significant change will be acceleration to digital channels for all transactions and day to day businesses. The present format of economy will move towards cashless economy, which would in turn bring about a positive and hopeful change in the economic status of all the strata of service providers like the Doctors, Nurses, Health workers, Social workers providing food, the Policemen, Sweepers and cleaners whose contribution in this hour of danger and dire need have no words of acknowledgement! The country will remember their contribution for all the years to come…
The Banking staff are working like true warriors, serving the nation by knowing well, their life is at risk. Although the Banks have reduced their working staff strength amidst this pandemic and a lockdown situation prevails, all the financial transactions are being carried out by the Banks without any trouble, hiccups or obstacles or error. The Banks are abiding to all the required precautionary measures- social distancing and continuing their service to the nation and its community.
NAFCUB (National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd) have proudly motivated all Bankers by saying that
“WE SALUTE OUR WARRIORS BANKERS”.
This is the best way to acknowledge the heroic efforts of the banking community across the nation. As a Banker myself, I conclude by reminding, ‘your safety is of utmost importance to us. Stay Indoors Stay Safe.’
Pankaj Arunkumar Tripathi
Pankaj Tripathi is an enthusiastic young Banker presently associated with the Rajkot Nagarik Sahakari Bank since the past year as Branch Manager. He has earlier been with the Saraswat bank for 7 years and enriched his deep understanding about the Banking sector. With a CS degree under his sleeve, he understands all the fine nuances of finance and economy traits. Groomed as a dedicated Sangh swayamsewak since childhood, he currently resides in Chembur, Mumbai and is religiously tending to his Banking duties each day, despite the mounting danger of the COVID19 pandemic.