Bank of Valletta says it remains committed to serving customers at physical branches after it closed down its Fleur-de-Lys branch and temporarily halted operations at five others.

The move last week raised concerns that it would scale back its physical branch network as another bank in Malta, HSBC, did in 2019 with the closure of eight branches.

A BOV spokesperson however played down these concerns, saying the closure of Fleur-de-Lys “is not part of any plans by BOV to bring about a reduction in branches” but, rather, was taken on the basis of its close proximity to the Birkirkara and Santa Venera branches.

“The bank remains committed to provide the most convenient access to its customers both through its physical branch network as well as its digital channels and strong fleet of ATMS,” the spokesperson said.

Plan is to reopen these branches when the bank’s staff complement resumes normal levels

Bank of Valletta said it conducts a periodic review of its customer service touchpoints, with the view of optimising its service channels.

Apart from the Fleur-de-Lys closure, BOV also announced last week the “temporary” closure of its Balluta, Birżebbuġa, Floriana, Marsa and St Paul’s Bay branches.

ATMs and night safe deposit facilities at these branches will continue to operate normally, the bank said.

BOV put these closures down to the spike in COVID-19 cases impacting staff numbers.

The spokesperson said the bank, much like other credit institutions and commercial retail outlets, had been “heavily impacted” by the COVID-19 spike, with a considerable number of staff either in quarantine or COVID positive.

“The bank is closely monitoring the situation and the plan is to reopen these branches when the bank’s staff complement resumes normal levels,” the spokesperson said.

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