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Bank group working on plan to manage coronavirus situation

A cross bank co-ordination group is working on an industry wide plan to best manage the continued provision of banking services in the event of an escalation of the coronavirus nationally or an outbreak of the virus in a particular area of the country.

The group, which is chaired by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, includes chief operating officers (COOs) as well as senior experts and specialists from across the major banks in Ireland.

Engagement with the Central Bank and the Department of Finance (DoF) is also underway, the group said today.

It is focussing on core payment services and is assessing the possible impact to customers in the event of an escalation of the situation. 

The group is looking at services including cash distribution, paper clearing, card payments, electronic payments such as credit transfers and direct debits.

BPFI CEO Brian Hayes said that health issues and duty of care to employees and customers are a priority for the country’s banks.

He said that the banks are closely following HSE and Department of Foreign Affairs guidelines on the coronavirus and are continuously monitoring government led updates and developments. 

“However, given the role of banks and payments services in the day to day economic activity of the country, the cross bank co-ordination group is also focused on a co-ordinated response plan that will enable banks to react to fast changing circumstances and help them to best manage continuity of bank services to customers across a range of areas in the event of an escalation of the coronavirus situation,” he stated. 

BPFI said its members will continue to monitor the situation as part of its preparations for a co-ordinated response should the need arise.

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