At Chartway, we’ve spent a great deal of time talking about this topic with business partners and our Board, leadership, and team members because what we know for sure is that no business will simply “pick up where they left off.” COVID-19 will have a lasting and potentially permanent impact on many things, including the economic landscape, the labor market, consumer behavior, and much more.
In fact, we’re currently having small group discussions with every team member to garner their thoughts about how Chartway can prepare to serve our post-coronavirus world in the most meaningful, adaptable, relevant, and modern way. Here’s what we’ve heard so far – from external partners and our internal team:
Increased demand for digital channels/services. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, in the blink of an eye, the world shifted to “work-at-home” online, digital grocery orders, mobile food delivery, increased online shopping, and more. At Chartway, we were fortunate to have previously invested in robust Online and Mobile Banking services, and to have the ability to safely offer full-service through our Drive-Thru areas and our Direct Teller service, which allows members to complete almost any transaction with a live teller over video. On Monday, we’re also launching Video Banking. Through this technology, members will be able to access branch services and complete nearly all banking needs when at home, at work, or on the go - without needing to step foot in a physical branch or office.
There’s no question that businesses will need to continue investing in thoughtful digital channel/service expansion – and be prepared to guide consumers of all ages through learning how to use what are now viewed as essential services. They’ll also have to balance digital services with personal human connections because relationships will continue to matter.
Increased demand for debit/credit cards, digital wallets, and tap to pay options. The health crisis has increased the awareness of and need for digital wallets, tap to pay technology, and/or chip cards, as they require less physical interaction and are more secure. Consumers now value these viable ways to maintain wellbeing at physical points of sale.
Increased focus on saving/establishing an emergency savings fund. COVID-19 has served as a wake-up call for those without an emergency savings fund. In an ideal world, everyone should have savings that will allow them to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses when faced with unexpected life events. The unfortunate reality is that many do not, and, for many others, what they do have falls short of what they may need.
As we move along the COVID-19 curve and certainly after the pandemic, we expect consumers to focus on eliminating debt, and establishing sufficient savings so that whatever challenge or setback arises, they’ll be prepared to weather the storm.
We also believe that there will likely be an uptick in merger & acquisitions, an increased need for better business automatic, a heightened need for organizational adaptability, and a desire for meaningful, trustworthy, and personal service.
That last one is really important. Now more than ever, it’s so important to be kind, be grateful, be empathetic, and to go the extra mile to support one another. There’s no doubt that this is a dynamic and unprecedented situation for every organization across the globe, but at Chartway, we take seriously our responsibility to care for our team, our members, and our communities. With our culture guiding our every step, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure we are doing our best and doing what’s right for our people and our members.
Simply said, during this time of social distancing, kindness is trending. Stories of generosity and compassion are all around us, and the need for authentic connection has made a comeback. We believe and we hope that on the other side of these challenging times, kindness will be the only thing that continues to be contagious.