On 25th March 2020, following the advice of the Maltese health authorities to the public to pursue social distancing, the Central Bank of Malta (CBM) issued Directive 17, which implements temporary precautionary measures with respect to essential services provided by credit and financial institutions. This Directive entered into force on 26th March 2020 and outlines the minimum service expectations to be provided by commercial banks and financial institutions with the aim of reducing the number of persons visiting their branches each day.
These measures mainly concern:
- (a) the deposit and withdrawal of cash;
- (b) the deposit, encashment and clearing of paper based instruments, such as cheques and bank drafts; and
- (c) The provision of services through alternative delivery channels.
This Directive obliges credit and financial institutions to take such measures to provide automated processing of deposits and paper based instruments, where these were already available on 26th March 2020.
Over-the-counter encashment services for papers based instruments and over-the counter cash deposit services shall only be provided if the customer has no other means of depositing such instruments through an alternative service-delivery channel. In any case, services relating to an over-the-counter cash withdrawal from a deposit account associated with a payment card shall be provided only if it is in excess of €500.
Other services not mentioned above shall continue to be provided through alternative delivery channels, where these were already available on 26th March 2020.
Perhaps one of the most important measures implemented by this Directive is that paper based instruments which are marked as payable only to the payee (such as “only” cheques), may be presented to a credit or financial institution by a third party entrusted by the payee.
The full Directive may be accessed through the following link: https://www.centralbankmalta.org/en/news/79/2020/8797
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