“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”
The question is not IF, but WHEN you will feel the effects of Coronavirus in your community. This is no time to panic, though – it’s time to rise above the dire predictions, fear and uncertainty and make sure your Business Continuity Plan is in place to work for you.
Here are 3 practical ways to prepare for pandemic effects:
1. Disruption of Service
Communicate any changes in services or branch status to your state and federal regulators, bank staff and customers. The email to your State Bank Department, Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve and FDIC should provide the following:
a) The changes that you are initiating (branch closing and/or combining offices temporarily, lobby closing, limiting service to drive-through only and/or ATM service, etc.).
b) The reason for the changes (staffing shortages, infected branch staff and /or offices, public health concerns by city/state/governmental agency).
c) Estimated length of time that the changes will be in place, even though that time frame may be extended based on local conditions.
d) The bank’s point of contact for regulators if additional information is needed.
a) Employees first: Make sure your employees are the first to know what is happening at the Bank.
b) Customer concerns: Reassure customers that they will continue to have access to their accounts and/or cash through branches, drive-through operations, ATMs, computers and mobile devices depending upon their specific needs.
c) Availability: Confirm to customers that Bank personnel are available by phone, email and/or branches to answer questions or provide guidance.
d) Digital: Make sure any changes to branch or bank operations (temporary closings, limited operating hours, limited access such as drive-through or ATM only) are posted on your website and social media sites.
e) Questions? Provide customers with instructions on whom to contact with questions on their loans, deposits or payments.
3. Cash Availability
Be sure your branches have sufficient cash on hand for customers and that ATMs are well supplied. Vendor coordination is important!
Every bank should have an up-to-date Business Continuity Plan complete with a Pandemic Plan. When you’ve got a plan in place, there’s no reason to panic!
If you’re not sure where you stand, or you need us to take a look at your Business Continuity Plan or Pandemic Plan, just give us a call at (501) 374-2600.
On Sunday, March 12, 1933,
Franklin D. Roosevelt made his now famous fireside chat about the banking crisis that our country was facing. His words were comforting then and, I think, very appropriate for today. I hope you will forgive me for paraphrasing his final words to reflect the crisis we are currently facing. His words brought comfort and resolve. They were appropriate then and now.
“After all there is an element in the [crisis we are currently facing with the Coronavirus that is] more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people.
Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out [your business continuity plans.] You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses.
Let us unite in banishing fear. [You have the tools to help get us through this crisis and keep our financial system responsive and safe;] it is up to you to support and make it work.
It is your problem no less than it is [our country’s.] Together, we cannot fail.”