articles | 11 March 2020

Banks urged by ECB to activate business continuity plans

Preventive measures and business continuity plans were activated in Cypriot banks after the detection of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Cyprus, it was reported on Wednesday.

The measures are being implemented in accordance with a circular from the European Central Bank (ECB), and in accordance with the ministry of health guidelines

Under the ECB guidelines supervised entities are expected to review their business continuity plans and consider what actions can be taken to enhance preparedness to minimise the potential adverse effects of the spread of Covid-19.

Preparations for employee safety and business continuity should include consideration of the main risks associated with a potential pandemic.

“In particular, banks could be challenged in their operational capabilities in affected areas should employees be unable to perform their usual tasks. These could be due to illness, the need to take care of relatives, or being unable to work from bank premises due to precautionary measures,” the ECB said.

Challenges could also arise due to constraints of key third-party outsourcers and suppliers to maintain critical processes.

In light of the risks identified, institutions are expected to take appropriate actions for preparing and responding to a potential pandemic, the ECB said.

These would include adequate measures of infection control in the workplace, assessing how quickly measures foreseen under the pandemic scenario of the contingency plan could be implemented and how long operations could be sustained under such a scenario.

It also includes assessing whether alternative and sufficient back-up sites can be established in light of possible pandemic and whether large scale remote working or other flexible working arrangements for critical staff can be activated and maintained to ensure business continuity.

There would also be a risk of a potential increase of cyber-attacks and potential higher reliance on remote banking services, the ECB said.

Banks should also enter a dialogue with critical service providers to understand whether and to ascertain how services continuity would be ensured in case of a pandemic.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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