Review How Banks Can Meet Public Health Regulations
Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, any bank reopening checklist starts with a review of current public health regulations. The COVID-19 information page offered by the FDIC provides a big-picture look at key process priorities, while the American Banking Association offers a host of reopening resources for ABA members.
Create a Reopening Rubric for the Bank
What services will you offer in-branch? How many customers will be permitted at any one time, and what’s the process for entry? Some banks have opted for appointment-only options to maintain social distancing and reduce potential risks, while others are looking to manage customer service interactions in-situ by employing security staff to help boost customer confidence and ensure clients have a valid reason for visiting.
Continue Remote-Work Support for Bank Employees
According to American Banker, 60 percent of financial CFOs are now considering the adoption of permanent work-from-home policies that would allow staff to choose their best-fit office option. It makes sense: Growing COVID-19 concerns have forced large financial services organizations like J.P. Morgan Chase to roll back reopening plans, and recent survey data shows that while 55 percent of U.S. employees are ready for workplace returns, 38 percent are uncomfortable with the idea, and 7 percent “definitely would not” return to the workplace.
As a result, it’s critical to ensure both IT and C-suite support for telework wherever possible to both deliver consistent productivity and ensure staff safety.
Develop Mobile Banking Mandates
While many banks have been slow to adopt fintech mandates for mobile applications and digital transactions, consumers’ post-pandemic preferences now make this impossible to ignore. As noted by research firm McKinsey, while 15 to 20 percent of customers expect digital channel use to increase even after the current crisis is complete, markets in other parts of the world report that 60 to 85 percent of users prefer to handle everyday transactions digitally. Add in the “data deficit” faced by many organizations thanks to sudden consumer preference pivots, and it’s now critical for financial firms to prioritize the development of streamlined, secure and service-rich mobile banking applications.
Manage In-Branch Interactions
Before opening doors, staffing service desks and delivering in-person financial solutions, banks must find ways to manage the critical details of mid-COVID operations. Here, the right technologies — including handheld screening devices to evaluate employee temperatures each day, ultraviolent light disinfecting drones, and handheld wands and people-counting software to track customer numbers and data for contact tracing — can help bridge the gap. By evaluating and implementing an end-to-end physical office management plan backed by situation-specific technologies, banks can improve both staff and visitor safety at scale.
The next normal in banking bears little resemblance to the recent past. But it’s not all bad news: As banks make plans to reopen branches and bring staff back, a comprehensive checklist can help reduce potential risk and increase the chances of post-pandemic success.