As we say goodbye to 2020, a cringe-worthy, historical year full of darkness and obstacles, we reflect on one of the bright lights that stood out and how this star can continue to lead us confidently into the future. This shining example, to which I am referring, is the community bank. Small banks are normally the heart of their community and they continued to beat strongly the whole year, providing many essential needs to their towns.
Financial Support & Guidance
Many people found themselves struggling financially due to lost or suspended jobs and sickness caused by COVID-19. These individuals may have never before faced such adversity and were attempting to string their remaining funds together to last as long as possible. In addition to this stress, a number of people were also dealing with the emotional toll of isolation and the sickness of their immediate family and friends, who they likely could not even visit. For individuals struggling with these heavy burdens, community banks stepped up magnificently. These banks immediately began to facilitate loan payment deferments and quickly made changes to existing loans to provide relief. They suspended late fees, reaching out to provide help. They immediately rose to the challenge to accept and provide government-backed loans to local businesses shut down due to COVID. Bank personnel worked long, hard hours to help their customers when they needed it the most.
With such a large part of the population out of work, families were hard-pressed to even put food on the table. Individuals were suffering from loneliness and depression due to their isolation. Many children were attending virtual school, but lacked a steady internet connection to complete their work. Community banks extended their “virtual” hands again. Many ran food drives and managed funds to fill in gaps, providing what was needed. They worked with counselling centers to raise awareness of mental health issues, reaching out to their customer base to provide a message of openness with a willingness to work with individuals struggling with these types of challenges. They reached out to internet providers and government officials to assist school children in getting access to their classes. These banks did everything they could to go above and beyond for the benefit of their community.
As an ode to their flexibility, community banks have adapted beautifully to every hurdle. Leaping over lobby closings and changes to regulations, these small town banks have provided their communities with much needed stability. They increased digital offerings and continued to provide consistent, reliable access to accounts and services. When it came to federal changes, they were able to extend deadlines with lightning speed as swiftly as they were implemented. They provided tools and trained their customer base to set up notifications and controls to their financial portfolio, so they could be on top of it all. This flexibility even extended to their own employees. As physical lobbies closed, they allowed employees to work remotely and safely at home.
From ASI, we offer a strong “thank you” to community banks and personnel. You were true front-line heroes during 2020, fulfilling needs to those in your neck of the woods and beyond. We can’t wait to see you shine well into the future, as we steadfastly support you during that journey.
About Automated Systems, Inc.
Since 1981, Automated Systems, Inc. has been a leader in providing innovative core banking, digital banking, and data processing solutions to community banks nationwide. An array of integrated applications provide partnered banks with tailored, cost-effective, competitive choices. ASI delivers industry-leading technology backed by unparalleled in-house conversion, training and support teams; paving the way for progressive, top-notch customer service. ASI corporate headquarters are located at 1201 Libra Drive, Lincoln, NE 68512, 1.800.279.7312. For more information about banking solutions from ASI, visit www.asiweb.com.
About Insite Data Services
IDS data application hosting services combines secure and cost-effective core banking applications, enterprise-class servers and storage, and proven virtualization technology. IDS hosts all of the bank’s servers in secure data centers that use state of the art security systems including identity verification and biometric scanning. Insite Data Services also offers IDS On-Time, a full-service solution dedicated to back-office bank processing. These operations experts allow partnered banks to focus on their most important asset, their customers. For more information visit www.insitedataservices.com.