Top Tips for Banks to Know for Reopening After COVID-19

Verint Team September 9, 2020

The pandemic has undoubtedly shaken up the way financial institutions do business; the physical delivery of retail banking, the financial lives of customers, and relationships with employees are all forging new normals.

Adjusting to these new processes means addressing the potential risks prevalent in the current business environment as banks begin to reopen their doors.

So, what are the key things to understand about reopening to the public? That was the subject of a recent Verint webinar featuring several speakers: Sarah Auchterlonie, shareholder at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck; Allison Gambill, Litigation Attorney at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck; and Ian Kildow, Financial Fraud Investigative Supervisor at the Colorado Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law.

During the webinar, our speakers explored legal considerations, new regulations and critical factors for developing a return-to-work plan that balances security, health and safety, and economic recovery as the top tips for bank. One of the key topics of discussion was bringing consumers back into the fold feeling confident in their financial services team amid such economic turmoil: nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults suffering income disruption expect recovery will take longer than three months, and another 76 percent are worried about financial harm from another outbreak—making it all the more important for financial institutions to operate as efficiently and safely as possible.

As such, a major component and common theme throughout the webinar was avoiding the mistake of failing to follow public health and safety guidelines properly. Neglecting to stay aware of compliance requirements could open the door to liability issues, whereas ensuring strict adherence to COVID-19 guidance, as well as regulations related to openings and closings provided by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), will help ensure customers safety and access to what they need when they need it.

Touching on the challenge of helping customers adapt to the new normal of drive-thru only and contactless banking, Kirk Monroe, Executive Vice President of Vectra Bank and another webinar panellist, said that the biggest obstacle was making the move to mobile/online banking and assisting customers and staff with learning how to complete mobile deposits as another top tips for bank. Nearly overnight, it forced Vectra Bank forward into a greater use of technology—a major boon as the pandemic appears to be fast-tracking the digital transformation.

While in-person banking likely won’t disappear anytime soon, an uptick in the use of mobile services and digital banking is unavoidable as more customers become educated about banking remotely. Now that the audience sees the convenience and the benefits, there is likelihood of more trust in these services, especially as people continue to minimise physical interaction in their daily lives.

When addressing top tips for bank on how they should handle staff concerns about interacting with customers, the consensus was that listening to your staff and supporting them is the best way forward. It’s understandable that while the world is still dealing with unknowns surrounding COVID-19, employees may be apprehensive about conducting business with customers. But as long as there is clear communication between leadership, employees and customers about how the bank will operate moving forward, minimal issues should arise.

In order to keep communities thriving, we’ve created a checklist that encompasses the crucial factors to consider when developing a reopening strategy. While every bank’s checklist may look slightly different, the above lays out some essential protocols that should be instituted to maintain business continuity. Remember, the goal is to be predictive instead of reactive.