By Abdulwwaheed Usamah,
Following recorded 42 cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, with one reported mortality, financial institutions have began taking necessary measures such that assist in preventing the nation from spread of the virus, the action of which was demonstrated by Stabic IBTC through the announcement of its concluded plans to embark on a skeletal bank operation pending resolution of coronavirus threat in the nation.
Besides, United Bank of African (UBA) also suspended its marketers from usual marketing activities after it issued a two-week compulsory leave for those working as driver and domestic staff, saying that they were to stay and work from home.
While other banks including Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank), EcoBank, First Bank among others, had resolved to implement preventive measures in their respective branches, the IBTC said that its proposed skeletal operation would allow a certain number of its staff work from home while those at senior level are expected to show up at their offices across the nation.
Meanwhile, after index case of coronavirus was reported in Lagos recently, the banks had issued various statements calming their staff and customers, who could have possibly embarked on panicking withdrawals as result of the outbreak of coronavirus.
Through a statement received by The Guild on Tuesday from Stanbic IBTC, the lender disclosed that it would operating skeletal services across all branches and that a good number of its workforce would have to be working from home.
It explained that only critical staff would be physically present at its premises and branches including its head office sites and that the bank would have to put into use its online capacity during the period.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, we will also be playing our own part. Effective immediately, we will be operating skeletal services across all branches.
“This is the best time to switch to digital.These are indeed trying times and we have to make these tough choices for the greater good. Please stay positive and most importantly, do not panic.”
Besides the two banks, other lenders have been coming up with various measures such as could help in arresting possible spread of coronavirus even though Central Bank of Nigeria, which is the regulatory body, is yet to issue any directives as guide for banks against the virus.
Sources from UBA who confided in The Guild, disclosed that the banks had issued a two-week compulsory leave to drivers and other domestic worker, while its marketers should remain in office indefinitely.
One of the sources explained that UBA communicated the two-weeks directive yesterday through a staff medium and that the decision was to avoid possible spread of the dreadful virus.
He hinted that marketers from the bank were informed to continue to resume at their various offices but must remain within the premises.
“The directive is that the marketers are not allowed to go out for business as usual and that all marketing activities has been suspended until coronavirus incidence has been addressed.
“For other staff members, drivers and other domestic staff, UBA has giving them a two-week compulsory leave and the plan is for the bank to use the period to observe situation”.
Although, effort to reach to UBA on the development proved abortive as there were no staff of the bank to confirm authenticity of the marketing suspension and that of the two-week compulsory leave said to had been communicated to the lender’s staff.
On part of GTBank, the financial institution indicated that it had began taking necessary safety measures to ensure both its staff and customers are not exposed to danger, just as it assured that its branches across the nation were safe for operation.
It stated that the measure would not affect usual operation and other banking services and that its branches across the nations have been provided needed health safety kits for use in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“As our customer, these measures do not affect your access to our banking services. Our banking halls are open and our people are ready to assist you with all your banking needs.
“We would also like to remind you that you can use more of our online banking channels, as they give you access to all our banking services anywhere, anytime”.
“Using our internet banking platform, mobile banking applications, you can send money, pay bills, request for loans and do so much more at home, in your place of work or on the go”.