October 21: Banks and Financial Institutions (BFIs) have now become the hot-spot for spreading Covid-19 infection due to high mobility of people. As the number of infected employees is increasing day by day, banks have not been able to provide services from all of the branches at the same time.
According to the data from Nepal Rastra Bank, around 3,500 employees of commercial banks have been infected with coronavirus.
Compared to the employees of commercial banks, the number of infected employees in development banks, finance companies and microfinance companies is less.
According to the Nepal Development Bankers Association, 485 employees of 20 development banks have been infected as October 18.
Of these, 176 have already recovered from the disease while 309 employees are still infected. Similarly, a total of 183 family members of the infected employees have also tested positive for the virus.
Likewise, about 200 employees of 21 “C” class finance companies have been infected with coronavirus.
According to the bankers, the banking services have been affected as employees from the cashier sitting at the bank's counter to high-level ones have been infected with the virus. Most of the companies have therefore not been able to operate all of the branches lately due to the increase in cases of infection.
Some finance companies have opened branch offices alternately, while others have reduced the service period from 10 am to 1 or 2 pm.
Most of the offices of the 84 microfinance institutions currently in operation are located outside the capital, ie in the rural areas. So, only a few employees of such companies have been infected.
According to Basanta Raj Lamsal, the president of the Nepal Microfinance Bankers' Association, only 2 percent of the total employees of all microfinance companies are infected with coronavirus.
He added that even though only a few employees were infected with coronavirus, the current situation doesn’t allow the employees to go to the field to collect interest from the customers.
"Even though areas like Dailekh and West Nawalparasi are not very crowded, the virus has still spread by coming in contact with people coming from India. The services have been affected despite the fact that only a small number of employees have been infected," he told New Business Age.
According to him, the financial statements of the first quarter of the current fiscal year will be affected due to this. Arjun Khaniya, head of the public relations department of NIC Asia Bank, says that all the services have been affected as more employees are becoming infected day by day. According to him, about 150 employees of all branches of NIC Asia Bank have been infected.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Bank, Bodhraj Devkota, said that the process of infection and recovery will keep on continuing as the employees are working under high risk.