Staff illness ranked #1 on the list of “what keeps you up at night” in latest WBA member survey 

Last week, WBA collected input from member bank president/CEOs and human resources professionals related to branch reopening. These two surveys received over 130 responses combined, representing approximately 50% of the membership. 

According to the CEOs surveyed, the greatest risk to banks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is sickness—key staff or a significant portion of staff becoming ill (ranked as the #1 concern by 52% of respondents and #2 by 13%). In the #2 spot: a larger number of customer loan defaults than anticipated (ranked as the top concern by 31% of respondents and #2 by 24%). In third place, decreased business (diminished loan demand, losing customers to competitors, reduced fee activity). 

For banks who have not already opened their branch lobbies (or never closed them), nearly half (45%) plan to reopen all branch lobbies at the same time and 35% will stagger branch lobby openings based on market area factors such as the incident rate of COVID-19 diagnoses. 

As branches reopen and customers and staff begin returning, the top three social distancing strategies banks plan to employ are utilizing floor/wall signage inside the branch (79% responded “yes” and 12% said “still considering”), markings or other guides to encourage appropriate distancing outside the branch (56% and 14%), and limiting the number of customers in the branch at one time (46% and 33%). 

Of the seven social distancing options listed in the survey, the two least popular are using a greeter at the entrance to the lobby to control customer flow and requiring customers to wear masks, with just 18% of respondents saying they plan to use these strategies. 

Strategy Ranking (most popular to least popular: 

  1. Utilizing floor/wall signage inside the branch 
  2. Markings or other guides to encourage appropriate distancing outside the branch 
  3. Limiting the number of customers in the branch at one time 
  4. Reducing the number of teller lines/eliminating lobby desks 
  5. “Appointment only” approach for entering the branch 
  6. Requiring customers to wear masks 
  7. Using a greeter at the entrance to the lobby to welcome people and help control customer flow 

Regarding PPE for employees, nearly three-quarters of the respondents (74%) indicate their bank will install or has installed counter/desktop shields, and 59% are encouraging or requiring employees to wear masks, the vast majority bank-supplied. 

Policies for if an employee or branch visitor is identified as having been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 saw the widest range of responses, with an even split between closing down the branch (14%) and increased monitoring of employees (14%). The most common policy element is to notify employees who were potentially exposed (39%). 

View the full survey results here: