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Central Bank wants bank branches open to the population amid coronavirus


Central Bank Headquarters in Brasilia
(Photo: Jonas Pereira / Federal Senate)

The Central Bank (BC) issued a statement on Thursday (19) in which it determines banks to adjust their opening hours to the public at branches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The recommendation remains to use digital media or the telephone to resolve banking issues. However, for urgent and exceptional cases, the BC wants financial institutions to define what the opening hours of the physical service points will be like.

"Banks should inform their customers about the new opening hours of their branches, as well as other emergency measures aimed at avoiding crowds of people, but always ensuring the provision of essential services", says the BC in a note.

The measure, described in Circular 3,991 / 2020, basically applies to the five major Brazilian banks and their branches throughout Brazil – Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, Itaú Unibanco, Caixa Econômica Federal and Santander.

According to the BC circular, banks must communicate the new times with notices at the branches and through the service channels. In addition, they must also inform if they adopt a limitation on the number of simultaneous customers.

More credit and time to settle debts

Banking institutions have made several announcements of credit extension and debt repayment programs amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Caixa Econômica Federal announced on Thursday (19) a 60-day break in the collection of credit agreements in force for individuals and companies. The relief also applies to homeowner financing.

On the previous day, Banco do Brasil announced an expansion of R $ 100 billion in its credit lines. With the measure, 13 million customers had an effective increase in their loan limit.

The private bank Santander announced an increase of 10% in the limits of credit cards with payments on time. The institution also decided to anticipate to April the total payment of the 13th salary of its 47 thousand employees.

Such measures are facilitated by a recent determination by the National Monetary Council (CMN), which also announced changes to enable banks to expand credit lines and renegotiate debts.

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