The Central Bank of Egypt ordered banks to shut down after the outbreak of violence earlier on Wednesday 14 August, fearing escalations that might result in property damages and endangering the safety of bankers and clients.
Hesham Shawky, an official at the Arab Investment Bank, said there are several bank branches close to areas where clashes are occurring. This led the central bank to demand an early shutdown as a safety precaution.
Shawky said banks are awaiting further notifications on whether this situation will continue after Wednesday.
“During these violent situations the central bank issues a daily update on closing times so we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
A source at the HSBC bank, who requested to remain anonymous, said the bank received a notice from the central bank requesting the bank close its doors to clients at 12pm. The notice added that bankers and retailers should leave their offices not later than 1pm.
This is not the first time the central bank issues such instructions in response to political events. On 2 July, the central bank instructed banks to close their branches and headquarters by 2pm instead of 5pm, prior to the deadline the army set for former president Mohamed Morsi to resign from his position.