- Relaxation part of efforts to ease processes amid pandemic
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decided to provide relaxations to banks/ DFIs/ MFBs and their account holders to ease the challenges faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has been decided to extend the validity of measures stipulated in BPRD Circular Letter No. 52 of 2020 from June 30, 2021 to December 31, 2021, the central bank circular read. Under the said circular, measures like utilization of NADRA Verisys in place of Biometric Verification were prescribed to limit the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the central bank also relaxed Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financial Terrorism (CFT) regulation. The requirement stipulated for acknowledgment of physical presence of the customer for opening accounts without biometric verification 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, the bank shall ensure customers’ consent and take necessary measures to mitigate risk of identity theft, said SBP. This provision is only applicable for accounts of legal persons/ arrangements resident in Pakistan, whose signatories are temporarily outside Pakistan.
Furthermore, Regulated Entities (REs) may not mark any accounts as dormant or in-operative till December 31, 2021. However, the accounts already marked dormant shall remain dormant unless activated as per Regulations.
SBP said that 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. However, REs shall ensure reasonable measures to obtain copy of renewed CNIC/ identity document from the customers within this timeline.