SBP Maintains Relaxation for Bank Accountholders Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has maintained relaxed terms and conditions for customers to operate bank account by the end of 2021, considering the intensity and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The relaxations will not only facilitate customers of the bank but also allow financial institutions, including microfinance banks, and DFIs to continue their operations smoothly while mitigating risk factors through alternate ways.

In this regard, the following relaxations are being provided to ease the challenges faced by banks/DFIs/MFBs and their account holders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The requirement for acknowledgment of the physical presence of the customer for opening accounts without biometric verification may be relaxed by banks, in case of bank accounts of legal persons/arrangements where the signatories (persons authorized to open or operate the accounts) are unable to travel to Pakistan amid COVID-19 restrictions.

However, banks shall ensure customers’ consent and take necessary measures to mitigate the risk of identity theft. This provision is only applicable for accounts of legal persons/arrangements resident in Pakistan, whose signatories are temporarily outside Pakistan.

AML/CFT/CPF Regulations

Financial Institutions may not mark any accounts as dormant or in-operative (in terms of the definition of 25 of AML/CFT/CPF Regulations) till December 31, 2021. However, the accounts already marked dormant shall remain dormant unless activated as per regulations.

In case of expiry of CNIC or other identity documents (other than high-risk customers) during the business relationships, banks may allow continuity of business relationships/ operations in the account up to December 31, 2021. However, financial institutions shall ensure reasonable measures to obtain a copy of renewed CNIC/identity document from the customers within this timeline.

In addition to the above, banks are strictly advised to comply with the relief measures provided by SBP with regard to the impact of COVID-19, particularly regarding biometric verification and activation of dormant accounts. In case of non-compliance enforcement action may be initiated by SBP.

Courtesy: Pro Pakistani

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