Following an instruction of the Cabinet Division, the Bangladesh Bank has asked all banks to operate on a limited scale for seven days during 14-21 April.
Banks will remain open from 10am to 1pm to facilitate financial transactions, said a notification from the central bank on Tuesday.
In the circular issued on Tuesday, the central bank's Department of Offsite Supervision (DOS) said, "As per the instructions of the Cabinet Division, the bank will be open from 10am to 1pm, except on weekly and public holidays."
However, the bank authorities are allowed to conduct internal official activities until 2:30pm.
As per the new schedule, branches of a bank located within two kilometres in a city corporation area will remain open on alternate days. Upazila level branches will also remain open for three days (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). Local or principal branches, district sadar branches and foreign trade branches will remain open regularly.
According to the latest circular, the new transaction time will continue in the banks until further instructions. The branches of the banks adjacent to the seaport, land port and airport will remain open as before, in compliance with hygiene rules.
Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Division requested the Bangladesh Bank to keep banking services open during lockdown.
The instruction came a day after the central bank issued a circular asking to keep regular banking service closed in line with the government restrictions, imposed for seven days on 14-21 April.
Prior to that, the Cabinet Division, on Monday, issued a gazette notification to keep all government and private offices, including the financial institutions, closed during the lockdown.
Following that notification, the central bank decided to keep banking services closed during the week-long lockdown.
The central bank also had extended the transaction time for two hours at banks for Tuesday (13 April), as banks may face huge pressure from clients ahead of the strict lockdown starting from 14 April.
ATM booths will remain open. The daily withdrawal limit from ATM booths has been increased to Tk1 lakh from Tk50,000. Besides, adequate notes will have to be provided at the ATM booths, the DOS said.
At the same time, arrangements will have to be in place for continuing Internet banking round the clock and mobile banking agent points have also been instructed to keep sufficient money.
The central bank had also instructed banks to ensure the carrying out of all essential transactions for customers within the reduced banking hours.
They must ensure cash transactions, treasury challans (bills), utility bill submissions, purchase or cashing of savings certificates, and all other transactions under the payment system or clearing system. Also, banks have to continue transactions in their foreign trade branches (authorised dealers).
Banks have to continue the disbursement of all types of loans, including incentive packages. There should be no interruption in the transaction as well as in the disbursement of loans.
Banks may decide at their own discretion how many staff members will be present at bank branches during transaction hours. They may consider using on a priority basis, bank staff living close to branches.
Those serving clients at a bank and the customers themselves will have to make sure they follow the hygiene rules prescribed by the government, the central bank said.