Banking and the financial services sector in the wake of COVID-19

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Banking and the financial services sector in the wake of COVID-19

(PRESS RELEASE) — The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which was declared a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), poses a significant and unprecedented threat to the global economy.

It is now evident that it will no longer be “business as usual” for the foreseeable future. Given the pivotal role of banks and other financial institutions in the macroeconomic stabilization of every economy the Caribbean Association of Banks recommends that the following be considered:

Review of business continuity plans

The time for preparation and other planning is NOW. It is imperative that consideration be given to measures that may be implemented to address the immediate to short-term impact of the pandemic (two of which are further explored below). Further, the long-term effects of COVID-19, in particular the impact on the income earnings of customers, may warrant policy level changes within your institution.

Assessment of work-from-home (WFH) capabilities

It is now well established that work-from-home capabilities are of significant importance in ensuring business continuity. Tests should be conducted to assess the level of WFH capabilities within your organisation in expectation of temporary nation-wide lock downs.

Increased sensitization of online-banking, ATM and point-of-sale services

The WHO continues to emphasise the importance of social distancing to flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having customers utilise avenues that reduce the level of interaction with employees and others reduces the level of virus transmission and is in the best interest of the wider population.

About the CAB

Established in 1974, the CAB is a community of banks and other financial institutions in the Caribbean Region, which proactively influences issues impacting the financial services sector through advocacy, education and networking. The CAB represents fifty-six (56) banks and financial institutions in the Caribbean with an asset base in excess of US$41 billion as at Dec 31, 2019, in addition to sixteen (16) Service members comprising regional and international technological and professional institutions and three (3) Honorary Members, and six (6) Associate Members, spanning 20 territories.

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