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Banking during a pandemic

T-R PHOTO BY ANNA SHEARER Stephanie Sanchez, left, and Evelyn Castillo, right, work behind germ guards at United Bank & Trust on Monday. Some banks in Marshalltown have opened their lobbies to the public with protective measures in place for employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many businesses, banks had to evolve to meet the needs of customers during the pandemic. Some banks have reopened their lobbies to the public and others remain closed, but customers of all banks continue to move toward online banking.

President and CEO at Farmers Savings Bank Jerrod Leffler said many customers already used online services before the pandemic.

“I think we’ve seen this trend continue to grow,” he said.

Customers are encouraged to bank online in order to reduce contact with others, but the drive-up service is another option many customers take advantage of.

Some things, however, have to be done in person like safe deposit boxes. Farmers Savings Bank’s lobby is open, with employees and customers able to choose whether to wear a mask or not. Leffler said most people are wearing them.

He said though there is less face-to-face contact, they are still striving to keep that “personal touch.”

Leffler wants to assure people they can still count on their bank despite the changes in services.

“Their local bank is going to be there for them,” he said.

Senior Vice President at United Bank & Trust Jennifer Hass said their customers are also taking advantage of online services.

“We definitely have seen an increase in online banking,” she said.

People can use mobile and online banking to deposit money. Loans can even be applied for online.

Hass said the pandemic has caused the bank to be innovative and find solutions. They worked to educate customers on these changes.

Hass said it has not been too much of a challenge.

“People have kind of adjusted,” she said.

United Bank and Trust reopened the lobby in early June and are using germ guards and sanitizer to keep everyone safe.

Alyce Quastad, branch manager of Great Western Bank, said people are using a variety of services to get their banking needs met.

Customers use the drive-through, access funds through the ATM and use the online banking service.

The bank’s lobby continues to be closed, but staff are getting creative with services that require face-to-face contact, such as loan closings. Quastad said staff and customers meet in conference rooms or cars.

Though there have been challenges, she said staff and customers are working well together.

“I think though that everybody has adapted fairly well,” Quastad said.

She said customers have been understanding about changes and extra waiting time in the drive-up.

“I just appreciate everybody for being so patient,” Quastad said.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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