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SBP extends Covid-19 support steps till Dec

By Our Correspondent
June 08, 2021

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has extended a number of measures taken to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic from their original deadline of June 30 to December 31, 2021, a circular said on Monday.

The SBP said it has decided to provide relaxations to ease the challenges faced by banks, development finance institutions, and microfinance banks, and their accountholders due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 in the country.

Specifically, the SBP extended the amended Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financial Terrorism (CFT) regulations for banks and microfinance banks. The requirement for acknowledgment of 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 authorised to open or operate the accounts) are unable to travel to Pakistan amid COVID-19 restrictions, it said.

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

According to the communication, Regulated Entities (REs) may not mark any accounts as dormant or in-operative (in terms of definition of 25 of AML, CFT and Countering Proliferation Financing (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 document (other than high risk customers) during the course of business relationship, REs may allow continuity of business relationship/ operations in the account up to December 31, 2021.”