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Bank Offers Go Viral In Pandemic

3 min read

The rollout of temporary deals for business and consumer borrowers alike are all over the board as banks adjust their products to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The varied offers include credit card and home loan payment deferrals, eliminated late fees, reduced or waived service fees, interest rate reductions on small personal loans, 0% credit card interest, and lower rates for secured and unsecured lines of credit for businesses.

Two prominent lenders operating in Arkansas are among those who took additional steps to meet changing needs in their markets.

Bank of America committed $100 million to support local communities to help increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, increase access to learning as a result of school closures and provide support to the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Regions Bank is changing the advertising message of media buys intended to promote products and services to instead promote financial support for food banks in its footprint.

The donation ads will focus on television and digital media properties and will encourage viewers to make donations to food banks to continue helping those in need.

“That’s something you will begin to see in the Little Rock market very soon,” said Jeremy King, spokesman for Regions. “We hope this will begin to have a very positive impact.”

Bank Appointments

Following advice from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, bank lobby business by appointment only became the new norm for customers wanting to access lock boxes or complete paperwork requiring a “wet” signature, a pen-and-paper autograph witnessed by a bank staffer.

The state’s largest credit union was an exception. Jacksonville’s Arkansas Federal Credit Union closed its lobbies to customers until further notice.

With lobby access curtailed, online, drive-thru, automated teller machines, mobile banking and telephone banking picked up the slack.

Online, lenders also opened up new menus of helpful links and new messages for clientele. Here are two sample messages on topics of the hour addressed by banks whose footprint includes Arkansas:

► BancorpSouth Bank of Tupelo, Mississippi: “We are keeping our teammates informed and have shared specific instructions on the importance of washing their hands and staying home if they feel sick or have recently traveled to a high-risk area.

“Per CDC recommendations, we will ask teammates who have traveled to such high-risk locations or have been exposed to others who have traveled to such high-risk locations to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We have put business travel restrictions in place for our teammates and are individually evaluating the necessity for any company-sponsored events to ensure we are doing our part in helping prevent the spread of the illness.”

► Arvest Bank of Fayetteville: “Scammers sometimes send fake emails and text messages and even go to the extreme to set up websites selling phony products. They do these things in an attempt to take your money and obtain your personal information to use to their benefit, but at your expense. Scammers often take advantage of vulnerable consumers in difficult situations, and they are now homing in on the recent fears about coronavirus (COVID-19) to continue their practices of causing havoc.

“Scams associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) could include emails or social media posts that appear to be selling unproven preventative products or medical products that you pay for but are never delivered. Other scams may attempt to steal consumers’ money and personal information by soliciting donations to help victims or pose as a legitimate organization by sending informational emails in order to trick you into opening malicious email attachments.”

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