Considering the intensity and ongoing impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, it has been decided to provide the relaxations to ease the related to Biometric/CNIC submission on expiry/account continuation challenges faced by banks/ DFIs/ MFBs and their account holders due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The requirement for acknowledgment of physical presence of the customer for opening accounts without biometric verification may be relaxed by banks, in case of bank accounts of legal persons/ arrangements where the signatories (persons authorized to open or operate the accounts) are unable to travel to Pakistan amid COVID-19 restrictions. However, bank shall ensure customers’ consent and take necessary measures to mitigate risk of identity theft. This provision is only applicable for accounts of legal persons/ arrangements resident in Pakistan, whose signatories are temporarily outside Pakistan.
Under Anti Money Laundering/ Combating the terrorism Financing/ Countering Proliferation Financing, REs may not mark any accounts as dormant or in-operative (in terms of definition of 25 of AML/CFT/CPF Regulations) till December 31, 2021. However, the accounts already marked dormant shall remain dormant unless activated as per Regulations.
In case of expiry of CNIC or other identity document (other than high risk customers) during the course of business relationship, REs may allow continuity of business relationship/ operations in the account up to December 31, 2021. However, REs shall ensure reasonable measures to obtain copy of renewed CNIC/ identity document from the customers within this timeline.
In addition to the above, REs are strictly advised to comply with the relief measures provided by SBP with regard to impact of COVID-19, particularly regarding biometric verification and activation of dormant accounts. In case of non-compliance enforcement action may be initiated by SBP.