The umbrella body for banks in India, Indian Banks Association (IBA), has advised its member banks to put in place certain measures to ensure business continuity, amid the global health crisis.
In an advisory note sent to all banks, which has been reviewed by CNBC-TV18, IBA has advised banks to formulate a Business Continuity Plan, implement staggered duties of its staff and prepare a backup plan for any eventuality.
Key officials, who are managing the data centre holding Core Banking Solutions (CBS), ATM Switch, Security Operations Centre, SWIFT Operating Centre and Treasury have been asked to not be in the same office, and consider staggered duties.
IBA has advised restricted access to officials ensuring their fitness, and regular screening. It has asked banks to ensure availability of materials like santisers, masks and gloves to all the staff across centres.
The entire top management of banks, including MD & CEO, EDs, DMDs, CGMs etc., who are usually located in the same office, have been advised against being in the same location. This is to be able to continue operating even in the unforeseen event of the building being quarantined. Therefore, the teams have been advised to relocate top officials in separate offices.
The treasury functions have also been advised to be split at different locations, and banks have been asked to keep an Alternate Disaster Recovery centre ready. In the event of a complete shutdown in Mumbai, where most banks have treasury and data centres, banks have been advised to keep alternate Data Recovery Centres in preparedness as well.
Rajnish Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Banks Association and Chairman of State Bank of India, earlier released a note on behalf of IBA, advising the public to avoid going to branches unless absolutely unavoidable.
During the lockdown period, banks will only be providing four essential services to public, namely cash deposits & withdrawals, cheque clearances, remittances and government transactions. All other services have been temporarily suspended by banks from March 23rd onwards until further notice.