Garanti BBVA, BBVA’s Turkish unit, has implemented a series of proactive measures to address the coronavirus pandemic, currently affecting 176 countries in the world. Garanti BBVA considers the health of its employees’, their families’, and society at large as its most important priority.
The new measures Garanti BBVA has put in place go above and beyond the recommendations established by the World Health Organization and Turkish Ministry of Health, without impacting the delivery of the bank’s financial services.
Explaining the decision to implement additional measures, Garanti BBVA CEO Recep Baştuğ said: “As Turkey’s leading financial institution, our main responsibility is to provide uninterrupted service to our customers, our stakeholders, and the communities we serve. Of course, in doing so our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, their families, and society at large. In this context, we believe that the measures we’ve implemented are essential to contributing to the mitigation of potential health risks during this extraordinary situation.”
In order to more fully protect the health and safety of customers, the bank is encouraging the use of Garanti BBVA Mobile and Internet banking channels for all non-cash transactions. A limited staff continue to provide the bank’s full range of services at the branch offices. Garanti BBVA increased the daily cash limit on withdrawals to 5,000 Turkish lira in order to help expedite customers’ financial transactions.
Customers may also withdraw cash from other banks' ATMs free of charge. With the permission of the national Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Garanti BBVA increased the credit card contactless payment limit so customers can now safely use their cards for payments of up to 250 Turkish lira. The bank’s security staff is assisting to ensure that there is a one meter minimum distance between customers by limiting the number of customers waiting in the bank’s lobbies. The bank is advising its customers to stay at home and only visit a branch if absolutely necessary. If customers need cash, they can use a QR code to make a withdrawal without touching the ATM. Even so, all ATMs and branch offices are being disinfected regularly.
In the interest of the health and safety of all employees across all the bank’s locations, branches and headquarters alike, employees identified as at risk (as defined by the Ministry of Health) are staying at home on administrative leave. The bank also announced a flexible annual leave policy in order to assist those employees with children whose schools are now closed. Furthermore, as of Tuesday, March 17, all central service employees who can work from home are doing so with the logistical support they need to connect remotely. Essential health and sanitary materials are available at all bank locations and employees have been instructed in their proper use. The bank has also suspended all customer visits, meetings, and other events, which will be reorganized according to how the situation unfolds.