Banking During the Pandemic: We Are Here for You
When COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic in March 2020, it sent shockwaves through the small business community. But even as the world started shutting down and people began taking extra safety precautions, small business owners had to find a way to carry on. Through it all, commercial bankers at community banks all over the United States found ways to serve the small business community safely.
Banks were in lockstep with small businesses as they closed their physical locations and implemented new safety precautions to continue serving their customers. At Northwest Bank, we installed plexiglass shields at our teller desks, implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures for high-touch areas and provided cloth masks for all of our employees, with extras on hand for our customers. We continued to provide access to our lobbies by appointment only so that small business owners could stay on top of their financial needs and stay healthy.
Improving safety wasn’t the only way banks served small businesses during the pandemic. Communicating proactively and further embracing digital tools, community banks helped small businesses not only stay afloat, but thrive.
A Big Response for Big Changes
When we saw how COVID-19 was affecting small businesses, we knew that many of our customers were going to need help adjusting to the new business climate. Commercial bankers were proactive in their outreach to their small business customers to make sure they knew about all of the assistance programs that were being offered. Many small business owners were able to continue paying their employees with help from the Paycheck Protection Program. Our customers were even able to work on their finances or make improvements to their product and service offerings with advice from their bankers.
With the adoption of digital signature platforms like DocuSign, small business owners were able to sign loan paperwork and other legal documents digitally on their computers or mobile devices. Not only did this improve safety for everyone involved by eliminating the need for a face-to-face meeting, but it saved time for small business owners so they could continue focusing on serving their customers.
Interactive Teller Machines
Interactive teller machines (ITMs) were rolled out at banks all across the country. Much like automated teller machines (ATMs), they allowed consumers and small business owners to do simple bank business from their cars; but unlike ATMs, ITMs bring a live banker to the car at the touch of a button via video chat. Business owners can use ITMs to update their account information, order checks, implement stop-pays on checks and more.
Mobile banking isn’t exactly a new offering for most banks. Business owners can deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money and check their balance anytime, anywhere from their mobile device. For those who were not already taking advantage of mobile banking at Northwest Bank, we helped them get set up and customer engagement is now at an all-time high.
A Digital-First Approach
Leading with a digital-first strategy will continue here at Northwest Bank. Even as COVID-19 restrictions are loosened and businesses return to normal, we expect the adoption of our digital channels to be ongoing as we constantly work to make our customers’ experiences even better. And we certainly have no plans to stop proactively reaching out to our small business customers to help them continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from our digital services, visit the Treasury Services section of our website.
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