Corona virus pandemic: Dear bankers, stay safe and stay healthy!

Sun, Mar 22, 2020 12:15 PM on Exclusive,
Corona vir...

Dear bankers,

The hospital staffs are playing the front line role in the Corona virus pandemic. However, you have been the backstage heroes throughout. Thank you for working almost eight hours a day despite the fear of illness. Thank you for guiding us to write a voucher despite the warning of a close contact. Thank you for being regular to work despite your family asks you to not go to office. Yet, it’s high time you remain safe from us and for us. Few days ago, government announced all the services except the very essential ones to be closed. Amidst the pandemic, banks are the most important services our economy requires today and will require in the upcoming days.

Last week, I had few important bank related works. As I entered the bank, I was delighted to see banks adopting precaution measures by offering sanitary liquid to customers. My delight did not take a second to vanish when I saw a crowd of more than 25 people within the bank. The bankers in the teller section, customer service section and credit department have to deal with the customers the most. While the coupon machine kept ticking, it felt like a never ending war that the bankers are fighting.

In the chaos, the policy level executives must implement plans strategically to help lower level employees fight the battle. For instance, each and every bank and its branches have furniture set in the bank. The banks can, therefore, remove the furniture and rather draw a number of circles on the surface at a distant (where customers can stand) to implement physical distancing. Branches with stair cases and premises can use their premises to implement physical distancing effectively. Physical distancing is one of the major steps that banks can work together on. Moreover, the employees in customer service department usually have to face customers in a close distance. So, the bar stand that are usually used to keep customers in queue can be used in front of customer section desk and teller desk in order to maintain a certain distance between customers and bankers.

Bank managers must be lenient towards employees during their working hours. Bankers should be given enough time to freshen up themselves such as washing their hands. I have seen bankers sharing the sanitary liquid bottle. It’s better to provide bankers with their own sanitary liquid bottle.

The IT departments in banks should be farsighted and utilize this period to at least develop a coupon based website where customers can issue coupon for their turn staying home. It might not be as easy as to implement however, if we start to work on it today, it might be a savior tomorrow.

Moreover, the banks can covert Corona fear among masses into opportunity by motivating customers to access online banking. For the small transactions, the banks can ask their customers to use internet banking, credit cards and ATM.

The IPO of Nepal Reinsurance Company totally explains how miserably Nepalese authorities have failed to communicate the use of mero share account to the investors. The pile of paper based application form in the desk of bankers during the IPO reflects majority of primary investors are not using mero share account to apply for IPOs.

The current situation justifies why banks need to develop strong web based banking application software so that bankers can work remotely. Even if one banker is affected by the virus, the whole branch might live in the fear of getting infected. In such situation, the senior level employees must keep on encouraging and praising the efforts they have been putting into their work in these situations. Banks require testing kits to test their employees.

We, customers, have been complaining banks for their higher interest rates and delay in service. However, we can’t deny bankers work 9 to 5 six days a week just to fulfill our requirements. In tough times as these, let’s be civilized customers. Let’s rely on internet banking for small transactions. Let’s maintain physical distancing on our own during our visits in the bank.