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Communicating What Account Holders Want to Hear During Uncertain Times
Life as we know it has considerably changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how we go about living our daily lives—where we can go, who we can see, what businesses we can shop at and how we communicate. With the crisis mounting, consumers are seeking reassurance from trusted sources—sources essential to their lives, like their financial institution. Now, more than ever, it is critical to continue being that trusted source to your account holders and support them with their financial needs.
In the coming weeks and months, your financial institution can provide the compassion, empathy, and expertise your account holders need to survive their financial crisis. Spend time preparing for effective ways to embrace customers and their financial challenges. To aid you and your teams, we’ve compiled a list of key messages account holders are seeking to hear now and in the near future to help out during these uncertain times.
Updates on Methods of Doing Business
Keep your account holders informed with important branch information, such as lobby or drive through hours and branch or lobby closures. Communicate alternative solutions such as appointments for in-person banking needs, new drive-through procedures, or electronic banking services that allow them access to their accounts. Utilize your website, social media, and email for communicating rapid changes to your account holders as information adjusts. Check out our Resource Center for tools to aid in communication!
Waived Fees & Penalties
Consider waiving fees for expedited checks, debit cards, overdrafts, excessive transactions or withdrawals on savings or money market accounts. Also, think about instituting penalty-free CD withdrawals for a period of time. Not consuming energy worrying about fees can alleviate burdens that families in your community may experience during this time and allow them to focus on their family’s needs. This can be communicated to your account holders through your website, social media, an email or a direct mail campaign.
Security and Safety
As consumers face uncertainty, hasty decisions might be made regarding where they house their money. Financial institutions have expressed concern regarding the amount of money consumers are removing from their accounts. To alleviate fear around the safety and security of their money with your financial institution now is a good time to remind your account holders that you are federally insured. Heightened communications around the protection of their money with your financial institution helps provide peace of mind consumers need to hear right now. The FDIC and NCUA are frequently sharing information that is helpful to share on your own social platforms, as applies. In addition, Main Street has provided digital assets for communications around security and safety in our Resource Center.
Deferred Credit Card, Mortgage or Loan Payments
Allowing account holders to defer a credit card, mortgage, or loan payment could prevent a family in your community from facing severe financial hardship. Skip-A-Pay programs are an effective way to offer your account holders an opportunity to skip their loan payments to help them keep the cash they need—when they need it. Learn more about executing Skip-A-Pay programs.
Low-Rate Loan Opportunities
With unemployment rates soaring and businesses forced to cease operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, financial institutions need to provide ways to make funds available to their account holders. Federal agencies are encouraging financial institutions to “offer responsible small-dollar loans to consumers and small businesses in response to COVID-19.” Regulators are also providing financial institutions the flexibility to structure loans in new ways to meet consumer’s needs.
Financial institutions across the country are stepping up to help account holders by offering a range of crisis assistance to ensure the financial well-being of Americans during this pandemic. Visit the below websites for a state-by-state list of financial institution efforts to support those impacted by the pandemic. The ICBA also has a host of resources available to support community banks to communicate effectively during this time.
Each financial institution has an opportunity to be a source of strength to the communities they serve day in and day out. We’re proud to serve alongside you and here to support your needs through this unprecedented pandemic. Check out our Resource Center for helpful sites and social content to aid in communicating to your account holders!
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