Coronavirus: Financial services like banks will remain open, says MAS

SINGAPORE – All financial services like banks will remain open and available, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Friday (April 3).

This comes as workplaces offering non-essential services were ordered to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The MAS said in a statement that the financial services sector is one of the essential services exempted from the suspension of activities at workplace premises under the elevated safe-distancing measures announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

All financial institutions will continue to operate, although with reduced staffing on their premises, in line with the MOH advisory on maximising telecommuting.

Banking services will continue to be available through online channels, ATMs and bank branches.

Insurance, broking, custody, asset management, and financial advisory services will also continue to be available, the MAS said.

But some branches of banks and finance companies and customer service centres of insurance companies may close temporarily because of reduced customer traffic.

“Banks will maintain adequate cash in ATMs, and there is no need for members of the public to withdraw more cash than their normal needs. They are encouraged to use PayNow, FAST, Interbank Giro, and debit/credit cards to make payments electronically,” the MAS added.

But it noted that members of the public should minimise going to financial institutions’ branches or other premises, in line with the advice to reduce people’s movements and interactions.

Customers should also use online channels, such as Internet banking or customer service portals, for their transactions.

Those applying for the financial relief measures previously announced this week, such as the deferral of bank loan and insurance premium payments, are urged to contact their financial service providers through phone or e-mail. They do not have to go to the financial institutions’ premises.

The statement added: “MAS has instructed financial institutions to ensure that their customer-facing locations adhere to all relevant guidance on safe distancing issued by MOH.”

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