The OGO Blog

How To Reopen Credit Union Branches

coronavirus reopen branches credit union update

It's been a weird couple of months for us. We can all agree on that.

Here in Oregon, it has been about 5 weeks since we were first quarantined.  At first, we saw schools close, then restaurants, then bank branches etc. Each wave occurred quick and decisively and credit unions were forced to react quickly. I’ll be honest, as President of Ongoing Operations, I've seen a lot of things over the past 15 years. Ongoing Operations has helped develop hundreds of pandemic plans all the way back to H1N1. Yet still, with COVID-19, there was a lot of scrambling on our team's side and from our clients. Fortunately, for our organization, we have always been a virtual company with employees in 20+ states and lots of redundancy and diversity.

ongoing operations strategies for reopening credit union branches coronavirus covid-19

However, even though we were working remotely every day and have for 10+ years, it took me a week or two to get back to the basics. Having my wife and kids at home every day shook up my routine as did not being able to go to the gym or pick up lunch or dinner. After about two weeks, I reflected and reminded myself that each day is just another day, and the quicker I could get back to normal, the sooner my businesses, family, and community (including credit unions) would return to normal. That doesn’t mean it would be easy, but I needed to get up when the alarm clock went off, brush my teeth, take a shower and focus on the top 10 things I could get done in the next 100 days.

Sure, you could plan longer, but you are lying to yourself, your teammates, your members etc. if you think that you can predict what will happen by the end of the year. What you can be doing is planning and developing key strategies for whatever might happen.  I like to think of it like having a bag of tricks ready so you can release them when a scenario presents itself. So, I thought it would be helpful to prepare a quick overview of a checklist to reopen your branches…for when that happens.

Ideas/tasks to prepare for re-opening offices (unwinding from this, look back at what you did ramping up to the actual building closure and work backwards):

  • Deep cleaning using a professional cleaning company
  • Change HVAC filters (Let staff know you have done this even though the filters don’t filter out the virus)
  • Order cleaning supplies (wipes, etc)
  • Order Hand sanitizer, gloves, provide Homemade masks for those that do not have one
  • Decide only D/Ts or appointment only, only certain number of members in the branch at one time
  • Teller lines – marks on floor or tables in front of teller line for 6 feet social distancing
  • Signs to inform staff and members what you are doing to keep them safe
  • Install temperature checkers
  • Require masks, no ski masks (have signs and on line explanation of only covering your nose and mouth)
  • Protective glass or plastic windows between member and teller (currently installed at Starbucks, Grocery Stores, in Texas)

After reopening:

  • Person identified to monitor situation for your community(ies) where offices are located
  • Greeters welcome without member handshaking
  • Designated person to wipe down door knobs/handles
  • D/T canisters wiped down
  • Wiping down work areas throughout the day
  • Wearing of gloves and masks for staff and members (Mandatory)?

Also, according to many recent reports, you should be preparing that branch traffic will probably never be the same. 10-50% of branch traffic may never return. How will your credit union adjust?

Here are some other questions to be pondering:

  • What will Auto Buying/Lending look like going forward?
  • How many members will shift to home upgrades and improvements?
  • Will people return to the levels of travel?
  • How will you digitally identify members?
  • What if we are in some of quarantine until a vaccine comes out?
  • How will you handle child care for your employees?

While we may not know when things will go back to "normal", we have to begin mapping out what the next steps for credit unions will be. If you're interested in learning more, subscribe to our blog below.

If you need help with your business continuity planning (BCP), please contact us here and we will be in touch.

Stay healthy everyone!