Because we care about here, Howard Bank has a deep commitment to proactively communicating with all of our stakeholders. Consistent with that commitment, we wanted to reach out and share a few recommendations for you, our customers and prospective customers, to help you continue conducting your banking in the safest way possible in this new health environment as well as update you on a few precautionary measures that we’re taking. At the same time, we want to remind you that while transactions may be digital, communication can always be personal and we are always here to talk to you about your uniquely individual situations. Banking remains personal even in times of stress and uncertainty.
With the ongoing concerns about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, we are and will continue to closely monitor the latest reports and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as local health authorities. We have already taken several precautionary measures with the objective of protecting the health and safety of our customers, our colleagues and their families and by extensions, the communities we serve.
Banking From Your Home or Office
Howard Bank offers several alternative banking solutions for those of you who wish to avoid public places and/or are unable to visit a branch at this time. We encourage you to utilize our Online and Mobile Banking solutions which provide you 24/7 access to view transactions, check balances, pay bills, deposit checks and more. If you need to sign up for these services, you can do so via the links provided below:
We have also recently launched Online Account Opening which allows you to open select accounts in a matter of minutes from your laptop or mobile device.
We suspect that social distancing or sheltering in place will put even more emphasis on electronic payments and remind everyone of our debit card, Bill Pay, Zelle®, and Mobile Payment alternatives to exchange funds for any reason.
If you are out and about and need access to cash, our ATMs are available 24/7 and we participate in the MoneyPass® network which allows access to over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Night depositories also remain available.
Our branches and regional offices remain open and we are closely monitoring guidance from the CDC, the Maryland Health Department, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). If we take the step of limiting branch availability or temporarily closing a branch or regional office due to COVID-19 related reasons, we will promptly alert our customers.
We are also monitoring possible short-term economic consequences that may develop as a result of the spread of this virus or the steps taken to prevent its spread. If and when these consequences begin to affect our customers, we always stand ready to discuss ways in which we can help you to navigate those circumstances.
Precautionary Steps We Are Taking
As a bank, we are part of a regulated industry and we are always focused on appropriately managing risks. We make continuous improvements to our standing business continuity planning and we regularly test different contingency scenarios including pandemics. We feel very prepared to manage any disruptions and want to help you do that as well. These plans, policies, and procedures enable us to continue to serve our customers in times such as these. The measures developed and in place will support our continued operations and support our customer’s financial needs during emergencies and disasters and we continue to enhance our plans and processes to appropriately address the specific challenges of COVID-19:
- We are consistently monitoring staff levels throughout all areas of the bank. This includes the option to allow essential personnel to work remotely to ensure operations continue even in the most extreme circumstances.
- We are actively testing our ability to operate with a significant percentage of our staff working from home not just for illness but for precautionary self–quarantining.
- Augmented “extreme” cleaning procedures have been put in place at all branch locations and back offices.
- We have made hand sanitizer readily available and are ensuring branch teams and back-office personnel know the best practices recommended by the CDC. You may also see some members of our branch team wearing gloves, especially when handling money.
- We have instructed any member of our team who is feeling ill or exhibiting flu-like symptoms or has a family member who is ill, to remain at home and we encourage our customers to do likewise.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate additional measures to support our customers and communities as needs arise.
For additional information about COVID-19, as well as common-sense guidance for some simple, effective things that we can all do right now to protect ourselves and those around us, get the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or your local health department website.
Mary Ann Scully
Chairman and CEO