Banking during the COVID-19 outbreak

Jason Norton PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

There are many things to worry about these days, but the safety of funds within America’s financial institutions is not one of them.

Monies in accounts are fully insured either by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) up to $250,000, and are backed by the full faith in and credit of the United States government.

While there is no risk in keeping money in a financial institution account, there are countless risks to holding on to cash outside of a financial institution.

The worldwide response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and has changed much about our daily lives, but the nation’s financial system operations remain strong. Through the use of contactless, mobile and online services consumers can fulfill almost all of their financial needs without ever leaving the comfort and safety of home.

These services often are available 24/7, providing consumers with the freedom to take care of their finances whenever and wherever they choose:

• Online and smartphone branch banking — banking on your personal computer or smartphone.

• Various online bill payer and money transfer applications, as well as tools to make deposits online.

• For those savvier with their telephone, there are robust banking by telephone capabilities.

• With extra time at home, consider putting together a budget using an online budget and expense tracking tool.

• Mortgage, vehicle and credit card online loan applications as well as the ability to open a certificate of deposit online, also might be found online, so go ahead and securely submit online for lending and depository needs. (Consumers should discuss specific online capabilities offered at their personal financial institution.)

• ATMs are more sophisticated than ever with multiple services above and beyond simply disbursing cash, e.g. make a deposit, look up statements and balances, make an internal transfer of cash, etc., and in many cases, ATM usage is surcharge-free to make deposits (Iowa only) and receive cash. (Remember to sanitize your hands after using PIN devices and handling cash out of the ATM.)

Continue to use caution and minimize social interactions

Health professionals state if you must leave home use an abundance of caution and minimize social interactions.

For the safety of member/customers and employees, financial institutions throughout the country began to temporarily adjust in-person services in support of community health. Each has taken the precautionary step to temporarily suspend face-to-face lobby services with drive-ups continuing to remain open.

Consumers can expect these measures to be in effect through the end of April with continual assessments made of the situation as it evolves.

If you’ve been financially impacted by this pandemic, rest assured that now, more than ever, your financial institutions are here to support you.

Take care of yourself and those around you and do not hesitate to contact your local financial institution for assistance.