With an increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country, India's third-largest private sector lender Axis Bank has set aside an emergency fund that will be used to support customers and employees, among others. Axis Bank has put an emergency fund of Rs 100 crore in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The fund will also be used to support vendors, government agencies and the community at large, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday. Several other banks have also put a curb on banking operations to discourage customers from stepping out.
"At this point, it’s critical to join hands, support people and communities to stand together in our fight against the pandemic," Amitabh Chaudhry, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Axis Bank, said in the statement. It has also decided to waive off charges for the savings account, current account, and prepaid card customers so that online IMPS, ATM financial and non-financial transactions can take place without charges till 31 March 31.
Previously, Vedanta's Anil Agarwal had also committed towards relief measures for the fight against coronavirus. He pledged Rs 100 crore towards fighting the pandemic, he said in a tweet last week. Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra group, also recently said that he will offer Mahindra Holiday resorts as an isolating facility.
The banking sector has also announced various other measures that it has taken in the wake of coronavirus. From reducing the banking operations to changing work timings, several banks have announced that they will operate with reduced force. Timings have been reduced to 10 PM to 2 PM till 31 March. The government has imposed a lockdown on various parts of the country as it races to contain the spread of the virus. Coronavirus has so far claimed at least eight lives in India and the total confirmed cases have breached 400.
Meanwhile, the markets have reacted sharply to the outbreak of coronavirus. Sensex and Nifty nosedived today and Sensex closed at 25,981, down 13.51%. Sensex posted a single-biggest one day loss on Tuesday.