Friday April 24, 2020 ~ WEST SHORE
by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses with a physical premises are impacted in terms of how they can receive and serve customers, working around physical distancing and hygiene requirements. Where there is an online component to service, that is not only a fail-safe but a path onward and forward.
For banks, this has meant adjusting the traffic flow for customers within branches (including at the automatic banking machines), and making adjustments to the number of hours that the buildings are open (knowing that most customers also have access to banking online). Both of these types of measures help reduce exposure between people, as part of reducing the opportunity for the coronavirus to spread.
COVID-19 is said to be carried in moist droplets and that it can jump between human hosts up to about a meter (three feet), making physical distancing one of the most important tools against spread of the viral disease. There is presently no treatment, cure or vaccine against COVID-19.
“We’re continuously making changes to ensure we’re safeguarding the well-being of our employees and providing customers the banking services and financial advice they need at this time,” says Daniela Da Silva, manager, Canadian Banking Communications, Scotiabank at their head office in Toronto. The bank posts their COVID-19 updates online.
Call wait times are longer than usual, it is stated on the Scotiabank website, where it adds: “Save time by checking our FAQs and banking online.”
In the west shore, two local branches are back to being open during the traditional ‘banker’s hours’ from the pre-Internet era, where time was needed before opening and afterward to attend to processes of the business. Now the additional time is used for cleaning to pandemic-standards, and giving staff some relief from exposure.
In the west shore, both branches are open 10 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday, and closed on weekends:
- The branch in Langford at Belmont Market at 3004 Merchant Way Unit 116, Langford, BC V9B 0X1 is open Monday to Friday 10 am to 2 pm during COVID-19. Phone: 250-984-0985.
- The Hatley Park Branch in Colwood at 2230 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 1X1 is open 10 am to 2 pm, Monday to Friday. Phone: 250-391-3500.
- The Nelson Square Branch in View Royal at 100 Aldersmith Place, Victoria BC V9A 7M8 is open 10 am to 2 pm. Phone: 250-953-5470.
Reduced hours across the country:
“With the federal and provincial governments recognizing the important role financial institutions play in delivering important banking services to all Canadians, a majority of Scotiabank’s branches continue to be open with reduced hours to serve customers in communities across Canada, including rural branches,” says Da Silva.
Protections in place:
She says that additional protective measures are in place including plexiglass dividers, signage to limit in-branch traffic, and floor decals to support social distancing efforts.
“Daily enhanced cleaning, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will continue to be available in our branches.”
Online banking is the way to go:
Customers can also complete many of their banking needs from home, 24 hours a day, through online banking and the Scotiabank mobile banking app. The range of services available online and through the app include: viewing account balances and transactions, paying bills, transferring money between accounts, sending and receiving Interac e-transfers, sending a Scotia International Money Transfer, or depositing cheques through the app.
One group that might feel left behind with online banking is seniors. While some are up to speed with remote technologies, it will take time or assistance for others to catch on.
To support customers impacted by COVID-19, fees for Interac e-Transfer transactions and stop payments are waived by Scotiabank for all retail and business banking customers from April 21 to June 30, 2020. That’s more broad a consideration than some financial institutions which are only offering two such fee-waived transactions per month, or no waiver of fees at all.
For a limited time, priority service will be given to frontline workers and seniors, it is stated on the Scotiabank website.