Va. banks stay open for business, but close lobbies
Few will remain open with increased sanitation.
Virginia banks are open for business during the coronavirus crisis, but many are practicing social distancing by closing their lobbies to the public and only allowing in-person visits by appointment.
“Providing safe and reliable service is a key priority for every one of our banks, especially in challenging times,” Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Chairman Jeff Haley, president & CEO of American National Bank & Trust Co., said in a statement.
Townebank, which operates 32 location in Virginia, on Friday closed eight of its Hampton Roads bank lobbies — plus five in Richmond and two in Williamsburg. Customers can make appointments to visit a banker in person. Most Townebank locations are offering their typical drive-thru hours and allowing ATM access 24 hours per day. The bank has closed its Harbor’s Edge and Westminster-Canterbury offices, which are located in retirement communities. Elderly and medically fragile populations are most susceptible to contracting COVID-19, said April Payne, Virginia Health Care Association’s vice president of quality improvement and director of the Virginia Center for Assisted Living.
Truist Financial Corp., which formed last year following the merger of SunTrust Bank and BB&T Corp., has switched most of its 444 Virginia locations to drive-thru and appointment service only. Branches that do not have drive-thrus will stay open with enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. Some of its branches will temporarily close, and employees who work for closed branches will be deployed to other branches. Truist is also temporarily waiving ATM surcharge fees during the crisis and giving 5% cashback to credit card holders who use their credit card for making qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies through April 15.
Atlantic Union Bank, which has 149 locations in Virginia, has temporarily closed its lobbies.
“We are here to serve our customers through different methods, including drive thrus, in-person meetings by appointment and our customer care center,” Atlantic Union Bankshares CEO John Asbury said in a statement.
Similarly, the Virginia Credit Union, which has approximately 415,000 members in Virginia, closed its lobbies on Friday, but will continue its drive-thru and ATM service.
Charleston, West Virginia-based United Bank, which has 70 Virginia locations, has opted to keep its banks open, relying on protective glass in its lobbies and drive-thru windows to prevent the spread of germs between employees and customers. The only Virginia location that will close in Virginia is its Harrisonburg branch, which does not have protective glass.
Martinsville-based Carter Bank and Trust Co. has 76 Virginia locations, but also had not closed its lobbies as of Friday afternoon, although it upped its cleaning procedures and intensified hygiene practices for employees. Most of the bank’s non-branch employees, however, have been working remotely, said Carter Bank and Trust CEO Litz H. Van Dyke, encouraging customers to use online and mobile banking as alternatives to in-person banking.
“Virginia’s banks are open for business,” VBA President and CEO Bruce Whitehurst said in a statement. “Like all other employers, banks are taking common sense steps to keep people healthy. Our financial system is strong, and access to banking continues in communities across the state.”