Lobbies remain closed during coronavirus pandemic
NEW BEDFORD — The coronavirus pandemic is causing longer lines of customers doing their banking transactions at bank drive-up windows.
Back in March, Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory and ordered all non-essential businesses to close to stem the spread of the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus.
“It’s a matter of math,” said Peter Muise, president of First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, as to why there are longer lines at the drive-ups.
With customers no longer allowed into bank lobbies during the shutdown, they have the option of either doing their banking online or at the drive-up window.
“You’ve gone from eight tellers inside to one or two servicing the drive-up,” Muise said.
“Almost any banking transaction can be done online or at an ATM,” Muise said. Many financial institutions have a banking app that allows customers to deposit hard-copy checks or perform other financial transactions through their smartphone, he noted.
However, there are those who like to do their banking old school by going to their bank. Many older customers who are collecting Social Security have their checks deposited to their account through direct deposit, but they are still showing up to the bank to make cash withdrawals, Muise said.
There are also those who might be partially depositing a check and taking the balance in cash.
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The Standard-Times went on social media and asked who was getting stuck in thee long lines and what they are doing about it.
“Banks are almost impossible to go to,” Shanna York, of Fairhaven, posted on Facebook. “I have Citizens Bank and by the time I get out of work they’re closed. So I have been doing all online banking.”
“Every Bank of America has lines,” posted Lynn Monte of Acushnet.
“Go to the Bank Five branch in Fairhaven,” suggested Dan Smith in his Facebook post. “No lines that I’ve seen.” He’s been doing most of his banking online.
“Long lines at First Citizen’s Credit Union in the North End of New Bedford but they were superstars and kept the line moving very fast and cops outside to help direct traffic,” said Melissa Jorge in her Facebook post.
“Online is the best way to go,” Lauren Sharp, of Fairhaven, replied on Facebook. ”I’ve been doing it for 5 years now and it is very secure.”
“There was a short line at Southern Mass Credit Union in Fairhaven, but nothing unusual considering the situation,” posted Rene J. Fleurent Jr, of Fairhaven. “We must all exhibit a little patience in this pandemic. Think of the alternative, let everyone inside and spread the pandemic. Is that what we want?”