First bank in Shanghai resumes in-person business as city ramps up recovery
Published: May 12, 2022 08:28 PM
Shanghai Photo: VCG

Shanghai Photo: VCG

A branch of Shanghai Rural and Commercial Bank (SRCB) in the city's Jinshan district resumed in-person business Thursday, becoming the city's first bank to resume work, as Shanghai's financial industry accelerated its recovery from the COVID-19 flare-ups.

Industry experts said that the financial sector in Shanghai might recover to 70-80 percent of capacity by the end of May and return to normalcy in the first half of June, if the local virus outbreak is effectively contained.

In early May, the SRCB loaded more than 21 million yuan ($3.1 million) in cash into more than 50 automated teller machines, in a bid to meet the demand of local residents.

The SRCB chose the Zhujing sub-branch in the Jinshan district as the city's first financial service institution to resume work, taking into account the local situation of the epidemic.

"Individual service has been restored, while business service remains suspended. The number of customers coming in today is particularly high," an employee from the branch told the Global Times on Thursday.

Some employees are required to stay at the branch 24 hours a day, in order to achieve closed-loop management in accordance with local anti-epidemic requirements.

"The branch will remain open, so customers have no need to worry about being unable to access services or withdraw money," the employee said.

In order to fully meet the cash needs of the residents, the branch did not cap the amount of cash withdrawals. Those who need to withdraw large amounts of cash (over 50,000 yuan) can make an appointment in advance. 

All external payment banknotes are strictly disinfected to ensure that customers can use "safe and clean money".

"The Jinshan district is a largely rural district in Shanghai, and the majority of SRCB's clients are local agricultural enterprises and businesses, so the move will help promote the resumption of work and production, indicating that Shanghai prioritizes the supply of agricultural products," Xi Junyang, a professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Experts noted that the city's financial institutions will accelerate the pace of resuming production, as the central and local governments have injected  confidence into the industry with favorable policies as well as effective epidemic prevention and control moves. 

An employee from a Shanghai branch of Ping An Bank predicted that the branch will resume work at the end of this month.

Xi said that banks will be the first to reopen, especially in districts that have effectively contained the spread of the virus, because banks are involved in capital transactions, followed by sites for securities trading, insurance and other financial activities.

Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, said that authorities should coordinate epidemic prevention and control and economic development, vowing to ensure stable operation of China's largest industrial city, when he visited the Shanghai Stock Exchange and China Foreign Exchange Trade System & National Interbank Funding Center on Tuesday.