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How financial institutions can serve consumers during a pandemic

Apr 29, 2020

Almost every financial institution we know of has adjusted their retail operations to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some locations are limited to drive-up tellers only while other locations may offer lobby hours by appointment. Other locations may be closed and traffic redirected to other locations. Those without drive-ups, may have almost-normal lobby traffic, with some adjustments.

Regardless of how, one thing’s for sure – things have changed.

To help you navigate these uncharted waters, we’ve pulled together some best practices to help you in your retail operation.

  • You may be able to limit lobby traffic by allowing lobby-type transactions to be completed through a drive up, such as account changes, opening new accounts, etc.
  • You may be able to reroute some transactions to your online or telephone applications (being mindful of regulatory requirements and potential fraud).
  • If you have multiple drive-up stations, consider designating one as a lane for lobby-type transactions so more traditional transactions can go through other lanes faster.
  • If you have multiple drive-up stations, you might consider a quick service lane with limits such as one transaction (deposit less than three checks, cash no more than two checks, cash exchange under $500, etc.).
  • If you are serving account holders inside the branch, consider providing hand sanitizer for their use, along with also giving sanitizer to your personnel.
  • Frequently wipe the drive-up canisters and touchpads, along with lobby areas where the public is allowed.
  • Put marks on the floor to help maintain social distancing, indicating the six-foot guideline in all directions.
  • Consider running the branch in dedicated employee groups so the same people always work together (Group 1 works this week, Group 2 works next week, for example). This way, if one group be exposed to the virus, the other group may be able to adjust their days and keep the operation running smoothly.
  • Consider designating work areas, keys, drawers, etc., to specific individuals to minimize sharing of materials.
  • Consider the difficulties in identifying the person an employee is serving, if your state has mandated masks be worn in public.Have an alternative procedure in place, ready to go, to identify masked members.Perhaps consider challenge questions or other security measures.
  • Be prepared for the inevitable policy exceptions, especially when it comes to new accounts and loan applications. What will you do if a required document is not available to the consumer in the format required by your policy?For example, my driver’s license will be expired by the time I get it renewed. My state has granted an extension to expiring licenses. But what if your policy states “non-expired governmental ID”. Consider documenting some guidance on what is and is not allowable.
  • General internal controls should remain in place. Random cash counts, dual controls, and the like – while you may need to shift things around, or slightly alter the processes, now’s not the time to let your guard down.

Some institutions have implemented call center or other support staffing from home. See detailed information in our GLBA security for work-from-home employees article.

Need more help with COVID-19 issues?

We’re here to help you navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on your people, finances and business. We have developed a library of resources in our COVID-19 resource center to help you stabilize today and prepare for tomorrow. We also have solutions that can help you manage your people strategy, operations, business finances and technology. We’re here to help. Contact us today.

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Sarah G. Lutzke, CIA
Principal, Risk Advisory Services
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