OKLAHOMA CITY – A year after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic, employees and leaders of a bank wholly owned by the Chickasaw Nation reflected on the challenges they faced and the progress that resulted.
The COVID-19 pandemic began soon after Chickasaw Community Bank (CCB) set into refocusing its services. The bank’s name changed from “Bank2” to “Chickasaw Community Bank” to better reflect its mission.
CCB is a bank for Chickasaws and the community – a bank on a mission to better the lives of those it serves. This is its guiding light, and helped navigate the stormy waters caused by the pandemic.
“Like every business, when this pandemic first hit, and we all became aware of the risk, we started thinking about the safety of our employees and also the safety of our customers – and how we can do that and still provide a service,” said CCB Chief Executive Officer T.W. Shannon.
“We always say you can’t take care of your customer until you take care of your employees,” Shannon said. “Our employees were not unlike our customers. We were all going through the pandemic together, you know? And they were being impacted by students being out of school, taking care of elderly loved ones and adapting to new norms of wearing masks and social distancing. We had all of those same concerns.”
Shannon said CCB’s employees and leadership rose to meet these challenges.
“I’m very proud to say that, through the entire pandemic, our services were never disrupted. In fact, I would say our level of service increased as a result,” he said.
Shannon attributes the bank’s recent record-breaking success to the visionary leadership of Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and the direct support the bank receives from the Chickasaw Nation and its people.
The right people
People like Shannon, Sarah Brown and Hunter Paul are Chickasaws who shaped the services offered by CCB from within.
Shannon, who served eight years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and was the state’s first African American Speaker of the House, drew on the insight of Governor Anoatubby to guide the bank and its crew.
Brown is the bank’s vice president and head of human resources. She joined the team just in time to guide the bank’s new pandemic procedures, which kept employees and customers safe and continue to do so.
Paul is director of CCB’s marketing and community involvement. By the nature of what CCB does – helping community members build a home, start new local businesses or keep doors open – the bank plays a role in life stories. Paul tells those stories, a key aspect of the bank’s community goals.
There are 117 employees at CCB who collectively made sure customers would not miss out on the bank’s services during the pandemic.
The right plan
The bank’s first proactive adjustment was guaranteeing every touched surface was sanitized. Places like entrance doors and meeting rooms were cleaned after each use. Every Friday, a bank-wide deep cleaning was performed by professionals….