The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on in-branch banking as banks scramble to find ways to continue their business during this crisis. Customers still need loan deferments, emergency business loans and other services due to the economic downturn that are typically conducted in person, but banks are being forced to close their branches or limit personal interactions to maintain social distancing guidelines. Finding methods to strike a balance between these competing needs will likely be one of the banking world’s key priorities in the coming months.
In the April Digital-First Banking Tracker®, PYMNTS explores the latest in the world of digital-first banking, including new simplified loan deferment processes from Bank of America, $3.6 billion in small business aid from Commonwealth Bank and a host of free help being provided by FinTechs to help through the ongoing crisis.
One bank taking steps to remotely aid its customers through their financial struggles is Bank of America, which recently announced it would be simplifying its loan deferment process to enable customers to delay repayments for up to 90 days with just two clicks. This move was because the bank received 150,000 deferment applications in only two weeks, necessitating a more automated process to relieve the burden on its staff. Bank of America has also temporarily halted all evictions, foreclosure sales and repossessions, and plans to defer mortgage payments as well, pending guidance from the federal government.
Small businesses are also in need of financial assistance, with more than a quarter of business owners predicting that they will not survive the pandemic without monetary help. Australia-based Commonwealth Bank is one among many financial institutions (FIs) taking steps to aid them, announcing loan payment deferrals, merchant fee waivers and personalized assistance for certain customers. This amounts to roughly $3.6 billion in aid, $1 billion of which will be directed specifically at commercial property owners. This recent wave of aid is in addition to a $10 billion aid package that Commonwealth Bank previously deployed to provide unsecured credit to its business customers.
FIs may be deploying billions in aid, but many of them are in need of assistance themselves. FinTechs are coming to the rescue with a variety of free services and programs, including enterprise software firm Temenos. The FinTech has enabled free access to its Temenos Learning Community Online platform. This service previously was only available for an annual subscription and consists of more than 400 courses on advanced analytics, digital and core banking, financial crime and other subjects. Temenos is also providing free access to its online sandbox environment so that banks can test new technologies in a controlled space.
For more on these and other digital-first banking news items, download this month’s Tracker.
How KeyBank Is Adapting To The Challenges Of COVID-19
In-branch services and digital banking offerings are equally important when it comes to digital-first banking, so customers have a satisfactory experience no matter the channel they choose. The ongoing pandemic has resulted in many customers favoring the latter, however, and Cleveland-based KeyBank is deploying digital loans, remote deposit capture and other measures to meet this increased demand for online services. For this month’s Feature Story, PYMNTS spoke with Jamie Warder, KeyBank’s executive vice president and head of digital banking, about how the financial industry’s digital offerings have prepared it for this crisis, and why banks should invest further in app design and user interfaces to help them face the challenges of the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the banking industry hard, with stay-at-home orders preventing customers from leveraging vital in-branch services. Digital banking is a viable alternative for most, but studies have shown that up to a quarter of bank customers who require these services lack the digital means to access them. This month’s Deep Dive explores how FIs are using technologies like advanced ATMs and remote tellers to close this gap without putting customers or staff at risk of spreading or contracting the virus.
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