Page 14 - BusinessWest May 12, 2021
P. 14

 Making Change
For Banks, Pandemic Has Been
a Time of Adjusting and Learning
As essential businesses that couldn’t shut down operations during the pandemic, banks and credit unions met some daunting challenges over the past year — both logistical and in meeting the needs of customers, many of whom were navigating difficult financial times. While things are starting getting back to normal now, the definition of ‘normal’ has shifted — and area banking leaders say they’ve learned some lessons they will certainly bring into the future.
While branch offices for most banks have reopened, they were ordered closed to the general public at the beginning of the pandemic, opening to customers only by appointment. As a result, many custom- ers relied on online banking to handle routine transactions.
For those who needed to open an account, it was no longer neces- sary to visit a branch, as the entire process can be done online, said Aleda De Maria, senior vice president, Retail and Operations for Peo- plesBank, who noted that new account applications doubled in the past year, and the use of mobile deposits is up nearly 40%.
By Mark Morris
inston Churchill gets credit for first remarking, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
For bankers in Western Mass., the COVID-19 cri- sis was in many ways a chance to learn what works
best for their customers and their workers.
Aleda De Maria says PeoplesBank’s call-center activity tripled over the past 14 months.
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