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Banking that comes to you

Kindred staff gathered for a photo before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced changes to operating procedures to better serve customers through the crisis. [Submitted]

Long associated with doctors, house calls are now part of the bankers’ regimen, at least in the case of Kindred Credit Union.

Deemed an essential service as a financial cooperative, Kindred has stated they will continue to operate during these difficult times. As such, there are a number of new initiatives being rolled out to ensure those who bank with them can continue to do so, while also maintaining safe social distancing measures.

“Kindred is here for our members through the prosperous times and through challenging times such as this.” That’s the message chief executive officer Ian Thomas wants to share with the community as the company works to make changes to their services so customers can continue to bank during the coronavirus pandemic.

Included in these changes is the pickup of deposits and other documentation from the homes and businesses of customers.

Thomas said this was a “grassroots movement” by branches, which was done to ensure those who may rely on going into a physical branch, rather than using digital or online methods, can continue their day to day banking without interruption.

Through this new method of operation, members can arrange to have items picked up or dropped off at a location of their choice. Thomas says employees have even gone so far as to deliver paperwork and wait for members to sign the documents before taking it back with them to ensure the privacy and safety of business.

It was the company’s teams looking at their communities and asking how they could ensure members could continue to do their business while also respecting social distances and some of the other restrictions, said Thomas.

He said he’s very proud of both the branch and account managers who have been working with members to get this new order of business running smoothly.

In addition to the pickups, Thomas says drop boxes have been made available for use to everyone so contactless banking can be achieved. The call centre has also been expanded and members are being contacted to be made aware of the new measures in place.

While these new things are considered low-tech by Thomas, he says they are in place to make things easier on customers and safer on everyone involved in the business.

“I’m incredibly proud to see how our staff have taken this situation and have really stepped in to supporting each other, supporting our members and supporting the community,” said Thomas. “Some of the things … came out of the empowerment and the belief of our staff about doing the right thing and helping our members.”

To help the community in another way, Kindred has started a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) called the Crisis Care GIC.

Money invested into this will earn members a 1.5 per cent interest rate. In addition to that Kindred will allocate 0.25 per cent to a pool of funds which will be donated to organizations in the community.

Because of the urgent need for community supports and anticipated interest from members, Kindred is donating $15,000 to organizations across branch locations at the time the GIC launches.

In a similar fashion to many retailers still in operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes have also been made in branches to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Changes include a reduction in hours, plexiglass shields around bank teller stations and a greeter to monitor the amount of people who enter a branch at any given time.

Kindred Credit Union serves more than 25,000 members across southern Ontario.

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