Bharat Bandh: SBI branches, ATM services likely to be hit for next two days

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The State Bank of India has said its banking services may be affected on Monday and Tuesday (March 28 and 29) because of the two-day Bharat bandh, or national general strike, called by a joint forum of trade unions. Online services will be unaffected but some branches may be shut for the next two days, the state-run banking major has said. Since the strike comes after a weekend, customers may have to wait four days to visit their branch for any banking service, SBI said, as it advised customers to withdraw cash as ATMs may run out by Tuesday.

“We advise that while the bank has made necessary arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices on the days of strike, it is likely that work in our bank may be impacted to a limited extent, by the strike,” the country’s top lender said in a regulatory filing.

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) had served notices to public sector banks, private banks, foreign banks, cooperative banks and regional rural banks, proposing to go on strike on March 28-29.

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They said they planned to join the joint forum of trade unions to protest against the government’s ‘anti-worker, anti-farmer and anti-people laws’.

Apart from SBI, two other state-run lenders – Punjab National Bank and Canara Bank – and private sector RBL Bank have also issued notices stating their services may be affecte.

“While bank has made all arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices, it is likely work in our bank may be impacted to a limited extent by the strike,” PNB stated.

Besides, customer banking services are expected to get impacted again on March 31 as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to participate in the exercise of annual closure of government accounts for the current fiscal year 2021-22.

The RBI, in a notification to the banks, had said that all government transactions done by agency banks for the current financial year must be accounted for within the same financial year. Agency banks should keep designated branches open for over the counter transactions related to government transactions up to the normal working hours on March 31, it said.

Special clearing will be conducted on Thursday for collection of government cheques and RBI will issue necessary instructions in this regard.



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