Upward Credit Union CEO Linda White leads a CUNA CEO Council chat
Upward Credit Union CEO Linda White

CEO Council chat tackles branch reopening, staffing strategies

As shelter-in-place orders expire, credit unions look to reopen facilities.

May 19, 2020

Branch reopening strategies and safety measures, staff reintroductions, and loan/net interest income issues dominated the discussion during a CUNA CEO Council chat last week.

Linda White, president/CEO of $80 million asset Upward Credit Union, Burlingame, Calif., and CUNA CEO Council Executive Committee member, moderated the session, which drew several hundred participants.

Upward Credit Union, which serves healthcare providers, never closed its main branch, White says. “We want to be open for our members.”

As more states end shelter-in-place orders, credit unions are determining the best ways to reopen their facilities and reintroduce staff to working onsite.

Some measures CEOs are taking to protect staff and members:

  • Installing germ shields at teller windows and member service desks.
  • Requiring staff to wear facial masks while conducting transactions. Most participants said they would allow members to wear masks but wouldn’t require it.
  • Maintaining social distancing measures.
  • Limiting member capacity inside branches as defined by state guidelines.
  • Removing complimentary coffee and food from lobbies to discourage members from spending time in the branches.
  • Providing routine cleaning and sanitizing regularly at shared member spaces.

These measures provide peace of mind for anxious employees, participants said.

While some credit unions plan to take employees temperatures daily, others are reluctant to do so. “I’m not a doctor,” says one participant.

Other issues CEOs addressed:

• Member identification. Some credit unions will ask members to pull down their masks briefly for identification, while others appoint a staff person to identify members as they enter the branch.

“We’ll have a remote panic button in case we need it,” says one participant.

One credit union created several “out of the box” questions to identify members based on their account activity.

• Loan delinquencies. CEOs are creating “what-if” scenarios to determine how to respond to late payments and loan losses.

“We’re giving people 90-day extensions on their loan payments,” White says. “What if they’re not back to work in 90 days?”

• Long-term staff and facility changes. Some positions may transition to remote work permanently, and credit unions may reduce branch hours.

Facilities may also be smaller in the future, and the use of interactive teller machines likely will increase.

CUNA Council members have been joining together for unique, live chat events to discuss ideas and responses to the current coronavirus situation. Topics are gathered from discussions in the Councils Community and members are encouraged to provide topics or questions upon registration. Council members can register for upcoming sessions, and receive chat transcripts and slides if they are unable to attend live.