Bank branches shuttered this weekend
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Bank branches shuttered this weekend

Friday crowds lead to closures, people forced to use online channels to register for benefits

People queue to open accounts at a Government Savings Bank branch on Friday. (Photo from Twitter@songkietchartwa)
People queue to open accounts at a Government Savings Bank branch on Friday. (Photo from Twitter@songkietchartwa)

At least 10 banks have announced they will close their branches on Saturday and Sunday to help prevent the spread of coronavirus ahead of the registration for aid for self-employed people.

Commercial banks that made the announcements as of Saturday morning are Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, TMB Bank, Thanachart Bank, UOB, Kiatnakin, LH Bank and CIMB Thai. The state-owned GH Bank also closed on Saturday.

Three other state banks made the same announcements earlier. They were the Government Savings Bank (GSB), Krungthai Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

Clients are encouraged to use electronic transactions and mobile apps during the closures.

The banks decided to close their branches after long queues formed at some state banks on Friday. Large crowds were reported at GSB branches after news that the government would transfer money to help self-employed people affected by temporary business closure orders by authorities in the capital and several provinces.

Several people assumed that, like the aid for low-incomer earners, the money would be transferred through only state banks, prompting those who didn't have accounts with them to open ones.

The Bank of Thailand and the Thai Bankers' Association clarified on Saturday morning that the financial aid — 5,000 baht a month per person for three months — could be transferred to the bank accounts of both state banks or commercial banks so long as people choose them as their recipient accounts when registering for the benefits. Those who have PromptPay accounts linked to their IDs can also use them to receive the money.

People with no bank accounts are advised to open one online with most banks and then use the bank account numbers to register. 

The government will start accepting the registration for the compensation at www.เราไม่ทิ้งกัน.com at 6pm on Saturday. People can register around the clock and no end date has been set for the registration.

The 5,000-baht handout, expected to begin on April 1, is intended for the 3 million or so temporary employees, contract employees and self-employed individuals who aren't covered by the social security system, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said earlier.

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