Amid virus outbreak, 90 percent of BML’s transactions made online

Bank of Maldives (BML) headquarters in Male' City. (File Photo)

Bank of Maldives (BML), which has been forced to close its branches and service centers in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, has announced that 90 percent of the transactions by its customers amid the outbreak were made online.

BML had closed its branches and service centers on April 15, on the day the populous Maldivian capital Male’ City identified its first virus case, prompting a lockdown on the Greater Male’ Region and a nationwide ban on all nonessential travel.

BML’s PR Manager Mohamed Saeed joined the Work from Home – Embracing Technology webinar hosted by the Auditor General’s Office on Saturday.

Speaking at the webinar, Saeed said that the bank had 285,000 customers, 87 percent of who used internet banking.

He noted that the bank had switched many of its services online due to the coronavirus outbreak, and would continue to provide many of its services online in a “new normal” once the restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus are eased.

While the bank may have closed its branches and service centers, it continues to provide internet banking and self-service banking services 24/7 and services such as international transfer (TTs), cheque processing, payroll processing and local bank transfers on banking days.

“Payroll, TT application and local bank transfer services were previously provided through our branches. With this change, customers can email the payroll sheet and other relevant documents to us from the safety of their homes. It’s our goal to continue to provide payroll services in this manner. To process payrolls without requiring customers to visit the branches,” said Saeed.

BML’s PR Manager Mohamed Saeed (Top L) on the Work from Home – Embracing Technology webinar hosted by the Auditor General’s Office on May 23, 2020.

BML rolled out special financial solutions to assist both corporate and individual customers affected by the pandemic.

Saeed noted that applications for the solutions offered by the bank were accepted online.

The bank’s customers have been offered a six month moratorium on loans. And Saeed said the bank attempted to complete the whole process online. The bank has received and processed 16,000 applications of moratoriums on loans. And the bank’s employees who processed the applications had worked from home.

Saeed also noted that the bank had also accepted and processed applications for the Maldivian government’s COVID-19 recovery scheme online, including the credit evaluation process.

The bank has issued more than MVR 180 million loans to 125 applicants under the scheme.

Applications for the financing scheme and working capital loan offered to tourism businesses, and application for internet banking registration is also being processed online.

Saeed said the bank ascertained the protection of the private information disclosed by its customers for internet banking registration.

Saeed said that the digital payment services offered by the bank were a considerable convenience to customers, allowing them to conduct POS machine transactions and QR code transactions safely.

And customers who do not have card terminals can use the mPOS app.

Noting that 90 percent of transactions are now made online, Saeed stressed the need for customers to check their transactions.

Saeed said that BML has 900 employees, most of who now work from home. He said the bank paid special care to securing its systems to promote the safety and security of its services.  He said that the systems used by the bank’s employees, both at the office and in homes, had been secured.

“We are monitoring the systems, even if our employees are using their personal systems, and are providing protection when needed,” said Saeed.

Saeed said the bank had been ready to continue its services even amid an outbreak, and that running most of its transactions through digital channels had proven to be a huge convenience.