Bankers have opposed the Bangladesh Bank decision to shut down the Bangladesh Electronic Fund Transfer Network (BEFTN) and the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system during the vacation, claiming this will hamper transactions.
Md Mezbaul Haque, general manager of the Payment Systems Department of the Bangladesh Bank told The Business Standard that there is no need to keep BEFTN on as banks will provide cash related transactions now.
He also said RTGS will remain closed during the holidays.
The RTGS is a technology to clear high value cheques at once, Haque explained. As the central bank has instructed banks to make only cash related transactions for the time being, the RTGS will also not be needed at this time.
RTGS is used to settle high value – more than or equal to Tk1 lakh – local currency transactions as well as domestic transactions made with foreign currency.
However, the BEFTN will operate as a processing and delivery centre for the distribution and settlement of electronic credit and debit instruments among all participating banks.
But the bankers said that BEFTN is very essential for electronic fund transfer because lenders now collect loan instalments from customer accounts through this network. Even insurance companies collect premium from bank accounts of policyholders using the BEFTN.
"I have over 15,000 retail customers and we collect instalments from them through BEFTN. If the network remains off, the instalments will be overdue and customers have to count extra money for that," a senior retail banker said.
However, Mezbaul Haque said that the National Payments Switch will remain open. So all kinds of interbank transactions, ATM and POS transactions, and internet banking services will be available.