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Smoke in city: bankers group supports early closure of downtown branches

 The Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago is supporting a decision by some of its member banks to close branches in downtown Port of Spain because of thick smoke coming from fires at the Beetham landfill.

The association said in a statement yesterday that on Thursday some banks in the downtown Port of Spain area closed certain branches before the scheduled time because of the smoke in the city caused by fires at the landfill.

 “While every effort was made to keep these banks open for as long as possible to accommodate customers in need of accessing financial services, given the health and safety concerns for the staff, the banks decided to close early,” the organisation said, adding that it regretted any inconvenience which may have been caused to its customers and members of the public.

But it maintained it “fully supports the decision taken by member banks, who in assessing the situation, considered it prudent to remove their staff from an environment which they may have deemed to be a threat to health and safety, especially given the pronouncements by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) on the air quality”.

In closing certain branches early, customers were encouraged to use alternative branches or other delivery channels (ATMs, mobile banking, etc), it said.

“While banks remain committed to serving the needs of its customers, it is also committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of staff. BATT underscores that the appropriate continuity arrangements are in place should a similar situation recur,” the association said. 

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