Some banks requiring customers to wear masks in lobbies

Others could require customers to temporarily remove masks, WBA president says

As banks reopen branch lobbies, customers may be required to keep facial masks on, or they may be asked to temporarily remove their masks, depending on the financial institution.

In a Wisconsin Bankers Association survey, 18 percent of banks surveyed will require customers to wear a mask while 45 percent will not require masks. Approximately 36 percent of the 105 banks surveyed are undecided on mask protocol.

As essential businesses, most financial institutions have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but in a limited capacity such as drive-thru or mobile banking only. Some banks with branches that do not have a drive-thru have kept their lobbies open since March.

While some banks are requiring customers using branch lobbies to wear masks, customers also should not be surprised if they are asked by bank staff to temporarily remove their mask for the purposes of getting their image on a security camera, said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president.

“I would hope people would be understanding,” Oswald Poels said. “It’s to make sure we know who we’re doing business with so we can ID the customer but also for security purposes too,” Oswald Poels said.

Oswald said about a third of Wisconsin banks reopened branch lobbies on Tuesday while the remainder have plans to open lobbies next week or in mid-June.

WaterStone Bank branches will open with normal business hours on June 1, but will require customers to wear masks. Customers will be provided masks and other safety protocol will be promoted including social distancing and limiting lobby capacity, according to a press release.

Associated Bank will resume branch lobby access on June 15, implementing several of the same safety measures as WaterStone Bank. Associated Bank has also installed acrylic hygiene barriers between tellers and customers and each station will be cleaned following each customer interaction.

Focus Credit Union is also requiring customers to wear masks and promoting safe practices such as social distancing and limiting lobby capacity. The credit union is encouraging customers to use drive-thru and mobile services to limit in-person interactions.

However, in-person services such as lending, new accounts, notary services and any other office-based service will become available when Focus Credit Union lobbies open on June 1.

Like other financial institutions, PNC Bank made a variety of branch adjustments in March to help safeguard the safety and well-being of its customers and employees. The bank is operating primarily in drive-thru mode with appointments available for services that must be conducted in-person, PNC director of corporate public relations Marcey Zwiebel said in a statement.

“We have not established a more specific date for potential changes to be implemented,” Zwiebel said in a statement. “PNC is planning for a gradual return-to-work approach that will be informed by various government orders, with comprehensive measures and safeguards in place to keep all of our employees, customers and their families safe.”

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