How are you, your bank employees and your community coping during the COVID-19 outbreak?
CFSB continues to be focused on client service. This has not changed even since this pandemic began. Our CFSB Disaster Recovery Team monitored the news and data in China earlier in the year and then as COVID-19 spread to Northwest USA. At that time, we began meeting to put contingency plans in place.
The Great Ice Storm of 2009 taught us that in any situation, our community needed us and we had to be flexible. In that disaster as well as in this pandemic, we understand what our community is going through, because we as individuals are, too.
Our Commercial Lending Team researches daily the options the government is providing so we can offer guidance. This is a resilient community and everyone is doing what they can to stop the spread, yet continue to try to live as normal of lives as possible. Our front line staff including our Relationship Bankers and Tellers have been incredible, only able to make use of our Drive-Thrus for the last month. As we have extended hours to add to client convenience, they have stood strong and have faced these challenging times.
CFSB President Jason Jones has emailed a daily informational video to the CFSB Team outlining the victories and challenges that the day held. This has been extremely beneficial keeping our team all on the same page as we have over 300 team members spread out over four counties.
Our Human Resources Team has been working daily with the guidelines set for all types of employment situations due to this outbreak. From pandemic pay questions, quarantine situations, keeping track of travel in and out of the Commonwealth, insurance inquiries and furlough questions. With school and many daycares now out of session, childcare issues have also become a prime subject. The team continues to try to be creative as possible to make for a work around in each team member’s situation.
How are your customers and small businesses adjusting to these challenging times?
Small businesses are having to rethink how they do business. Those businesses that are considered “essential” are obviously in a different place right now than those that have had to temporarily shut their doors. Our Commercial Lenders and Business Services teams are working with all of our clients, assuring them that better days will be ahead. Just as with CFSB, our small businesses are trying to serve the community, too. As their financial partner, they are looking for advice and direction from us.
What kinds of support and programs are you providing to these customers?
CFSB’s Marketing Team rolled out a campaign called “Here for you” that includes a one-stop website for assistance. We added the ability to make an appointment online to see a team member and a support form to let us know what concerns the client has so that a team member can triage and follow up with help. This could include deferred payments, removing late fees, etc., but team members are trained to provide assistance specific to the client’s financial needs during this crisis.
As another service, we are offering one free financial coaching session for each family, client or not, by our Ramsey Financial Solutions Certified Coaches. For our business clients, we quickly initiated a partnership with a third party FinTech company so that our clients could apply for SBA loans. Our commercial lenders have worked tirelessly to answer questions, give advice and assist with needs specific to those loans. CFSB also extended our hours of operation for our Client Service Center and Banking Center Drive Thrus after we closed our lobbies due to the pandemic.
This Thursday, April 16th, CFSB will celebrate its 130th anniversary. It is because of loyal clients that know that we are here for them in the good times and the not-so good times, that has allowed us to reach this milestone. While our celebration may be a bit muted, we still revel in the fact that our clients have been so faithful to us! We are here to make sure that they receive the service that they have come to expect since 1890.
What has the coronavirus crisis taught you so far?
Listening to our client’s needs is still priority number one. Adaptation to technology, understanding new keywords and learning how to get creative with our processes are always pieces that can be refined during any disaster/crisis. Our Disaster Recovery Team was established in 2010 and practices responses to a variety of crisis scenarios. These have been helpful to make sure that we have the correct team members in place for the next event, that will inevitably come.