COVID-19 has made it especially challenging to maintain personal relationships with customers in the banking industry. Bankers are used to having a great deal of face-to-face contact with customers. In fact, Paragon Bank was built on providing “high touch” personalized service, which often means that we take the bank to our customer’s home or office.
Though, in the midst of a global pandemic, our team members, like many others, are not able to meet with customers the way we’re used to doing. Additionally, banking centers and lobbies are closed to the public so they are not able to avail themselves of the exemplary in-person service that retail staff provides.
While the environment around us is constantly changing, we’ve found a couple of ways to meet customer needs and maintain strong relationships in the community.
Practicing Proactive Communication
Many business owners are feeling the stress of COVID-19 as it relates to their day-to-day operations, staff, cash flow, and more. We understand that uncertainty in your business can have a serious impact on your personal and professional life. That’s why we are making every effort to keep in close contact via email and telephone to ensure that we continue to meet the growing needs of our customers. Being able to anticipate the needs of customers before a problem arises and taking a proactive approach to communication have allowed our customers to trust that we will make decisions quickly and effectively.
Further, we are taking the necessary steps to make things like mobile banking and online banking as accessible as possible. Many banks are also concentrating on making their drive-thru banking experience as efficient and convenient as possible, and we’ve found that most customers feel this is a very acceptable avenue of service.
As a business owner, it’s important to request one-on-one meetings with your banker if you’re feeling uncertain about any financial changes. You don’t have to meet in person to maintain a secure relationship. Video-conference technology provides a great avenue for you and your banker to use to keep in touch.
Adjusting Operations to Meet Community Needs
As a local community bank, we made it a priority to ensure that every customer who needed and qualified for a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan was granted one. We transformed our bank into a PPP loan processing center and successfully processed more than 800 loan applications in a very short period of time for our customers and community members. Like many others in the banking industry, our employees worked weekends, and in some cases through the night, to ensure that our customers had access to PPP funds.
To further meet prevalent community needs, we leveraged our Small Business Administration (SBA) relationship to facilitate a nimble response to the PPP loan request. In these types of situations, local, community-minded banks can often move quicker and be more responsive than larger institutions. With a willingness to adjust our typical operations, we were able to develop a program to streamline this loan process in a safe contact-free manner through the increased usage of electronic signatures and secure methods of communication.
In conjunction with PPP loan processing, we were able to grant many customers payment deferrals on their existing loans if their industry was stressed or business was negatively impacted by COVID-19. In many cases, these efforts helped enhance our relationships with customers and helped us learn even more about their businesses.
If you’re not getting the financial support you need during these uncertain times, look for a partner who understands what’s happening on a local level. Community banks like Paragon focus on building relationships, helping you grow your business, and making life better in the communities we serve. Maintaining banking relationships these days might look different than ever before, but we can establish norms to get through these times together.
Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For nearly 15 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a bank, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.
For more information about Paragon Bank, please call (901) 273-2900 or visit bankparagon.com.