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Some banks continue operations, others scale back during COVID-19 outbreak

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — As of Wednesday, F&M Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America branches were among financial institutions maintaining their normal bank operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

But two credit unions are making changes, including State Employees’ Credit Union, which has announced their branches will transition to drive-thru only starting today. 

SECU said its branches would temporarily move to drive-thru only for the majority of its services to reduce the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus to members, their families and their employees. The credit union is closing their branch lobby access for all branches, but it will remain open for business to make loans, take deposits and provide other financial services to its members.

“Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of our members, their families, our staff and the citizens of our state,” SECU President and CEO Mike Lord said in a news release. “By temporarily limiting branch access, we reduce the risk for virus exposure and remain available to meet the financial needs of our members.”

SECU members who need to access safe deposit boxes, drop off tax return information or inquire about a loan will need to call the branch to schedule an appointment.

Lord said SECU is well-positioned to meet members’ financial needs. Members can conduct most SECU business via other service channels that do not require a visit to the branch by using the SECU website, mobile app, 24-7 member services support by phone or at a CashPoints ATM, a news release said.

Sharonview Credit Union has temporarily changed operating hours to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That change began Tuesday

“Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of our members and employees,” the credit union’s website stated. “As we continue to navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are making a temporary change in operating hours to help limit personal contact and allow our employees to have time to take care of their family and personal needs.” 

Sharonview recommend members to use online and mobile services for banking needs.

F&M Bank Administrative Officer Janet Haynes said the locally based financial institution is doing business as usual. However, F&M Bank, like others, is recommending customers use their online and drive-thru services.

The bank has shared its readiness plan with customers stating preventative supplies, including disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer and glovers, are well-stocked and that the business have stepped up its sanitizing routine, with a focus on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout the day.

F&M also has told employees to remain home when they are feeling unwell, believe they have been exposed to an illness or are at risk due to recent travel, Haynes said. The bank have arranged for many employees to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and taken steps to restrict any non-essential travel.

Bank of America’s financial centers remain open and offering typical services. Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the financial centers have put a number of precautions in place that include regular cleaning and disinfecting and encouraging social distancing.

Wells Fargo branches in Rowan County are open and operating normally.

Josh Dunn, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said the bank has implemented an enhanced cleaning program in all properties, is installing hand sanitizer stations in branches and are encouraging social distancing. 

Wells Fargo is also encouraging customers to use their mobile and online tools to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money, set and receive alerts and send and receive money through Zelle.

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