Banks urge customers to use drive-thru,digital, and ATM during virus outbreak

Published 8:55 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tennessee banks are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and taking aggressive steps to protect their customers and staff.

According to the Tennessee Bankers Association, Tennessee’s 177 banks stand ready to assist customers with everyday transactions and to employ measures to help those who may be impacted financially due to COVID-19 and actions are being taken to curb further spread of the virus.

“Tennesseans can focus on keeping themselves, their families and loved ones safe, while resting assured that their money is secure in their bank,” said TBA President and CEO Colin Barrett. “Their banks will work with them should they be affected financially. Banks have an abundance of resources, including capital, are implementing contingency plans and are open for business.”

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Banks are prepared to function seamlessly in such situations, because they are required to have continuity plans and testing processes in place that address pandemic response scenarios. Additionally, bank capital is at an all-time high and customers’ deposits are insured by the FDIC.

“Tennessee banks take seriously their duty to their customers—and their essential role in sustaining a functioning economy and ensuring customers can complete everyday financial activities,” said Barrett. “Financial services will continue. Our financial system is strong and is ready to assist customers with their needs.”

Customers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of resources available for remote banking and 24/7 account access, which can accommodate most banking transactions via ATM, online and mobile services, which may include:

• Deposits, remote deposits

• Transfers–ACH, P2P

• Bill pay

• Account monitoring

• Credit applications

While each individual bank’s plan may differ slightly, Tennessee banks are implementing changes to minimize person-to-person contact as appropriate and to encourage responsible social distancing. Those include:

• Banks are urging customers to use drive-thru, digital and ATM channels for transactional services.

• Some banks may limit lobby access, which may change as needed.

• Customers who desire personal or specific banker services should be able to set up office appointments in advance of their visit.

• Banks are enhancing frequent cleaning and sanitary practices to help mitigate the potential spread of the virus.

• Customers facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19 should contact their bank to discuss their individual situation.

• Customers are encouraged to check the financial institution’s web site for updates as the situation evolves.

Lastly, banks remind customers to be cautious of potential scams. Those can come in the form of websites to sell products, the use of fake emails, texts and social media posts to access personal information and steal money or messages or calls seeking donations to nonexistent efforts to help those affected by COVID-19.

Consumers should take the following steps to avoid falling victim to a scam:

• Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.

• Don’t rely on emails claiming to include up-to-date information on the outbreak. Instead, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) directly.

• Do your homework when it comes to donations.

• Ignore online offers for vaccinations.

• Be alert to “investment opportunities.”