Financial & Professional Services
This playbook is provided for Greater Des Moines (DSM) financial and professional services firms, such as: banks, credit unions, insurers, law firms, accounting firms and other corporate and professional offices.
Financial and professional service organizations have been able to transition to an at-home working environment fairly smoothly through technology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) continues to find that employed people who were most likely to telework because of the pandemic are in professional and related occupations or management, business and financial operations occupations. In addition, the BLS has found that overall, job losses have been much lower in several smaller sectors where typical pay is well above the state average: Management of Companies/Enterprises; Finance and Insurance; Information; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.New opportunities are on the horizon for these organizations as they navigate changes due to the pandemic in the regulatory, ethical and legal environment.
Sample: Bank Lobby Counter Risk Profile
The sample risk profile has been determined for a Bank Lobby Counter in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*
- Remote work is on the rise.
- Market instability provides some new opportunities.
- Professional services firms have lost over 1.3 million jobs.
Companies with an eye toward the future will increase their technology architecture to accelerate digital transformation. Customers will experience more cohesive and personal digital journeys while back, and office operations are transformed through more automated intelligent workflows. During the pandemic, funds are still being traded and policy claims are still being paid due to growing technological infrastructure.
Security and Compliance
The post-COVID-19 environment will continue to see increasing interconnectivity, digital platforms and expectations for 24x7 access. There has also been an uptick in fraud. Successful employers will embed robust cyber security and compliance measures across their operations to drive efficiency and effectiveness. Leaders need to keep an eye on regulatory changes, both temporary and long-term, which reflect evolving consumer needs during this crisis, and may offer new opportunities to offer innovative new products and services.
Remote Work Changes
Organizations may maintain a partially digital and remote workforce allowing them to repurpose physical space for new, value-added activities. In a recent industry survey, 67% of respondents thought that human interaction was still important in finance and insurance. Companies will need a plan for creating safe spaces in which this can occur.
Web and phone traffic may continue to surge, creating operational constraints or disruptions. Look for ways to avert technology glitches in high-volume activities and invest now to avoid future customer service disruptions.
Health & Sanitation
- Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from the local public health department.
- Encourage employees who feel sick to stay home. Employees who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should consult CDC guidance on when to self-quarantine.
- Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Face coverings and other PPE should be worn by employees and customers in accordance with the most up-to-date recommendations from the local public health department.
- Provide tissues and no-touch trash cans.
- Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
- Ideally, place touchless hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
- Discourage workers from using each other’s phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
- Clean high touch surfaces and shared objects once a day.
- You may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces if certain conditions apply that can increase the risk of infection from touching surfaces:
- High transmission of COVID-19 in your community
- Low number of people wearing masks
- Infrequent hand hygiene
- The space is occupied by people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.
- Provide sanitizing materials so high-touch surfaces (e.g., ATMs, drive-thru equipment, pens, cash drawers, time clocks, break room tables and chairs, vending machines, railings, door handles, customer deposit/withdrawal slip stations) can be properly wiped down before each use.
- When exchanging currency or coins, employees should:
- Wipe the counter between each customer.
- Avoid touching their face.
- Clean their hands often after touching money or paperwork handled by customers.
- Provide accommodations like specific schedules for vulnerable populations, if possible.
Process & Space Modifications
- Implement flexible worksites (e.g., telework) for positions where in-person contact is not required.
- Adjust workstations, if needed, to help employees stay at least six feet away from each other and customers.
- Install transparent shields or other barriers where social distancing is not an option (e.g., teller counters).
- Separate employees from each other and from customers in all other areas of the bank, such as public counters, conference rooms, offices, cubicles, safe deposit vaults, break rooms, parking lots, entrances and exits.
- Use visual cues such as floor markings and signs to encourage social distancing.
- Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to gather and interact.
- Encourage customers to use drive-thru banking services, automated teller machines (ATMs), online banking or the mobile banking app for routine transactions that do not require personal assistance.
- Encourage telephone or virtual meetings regarding loans, financial planning, etc.
- Remove or strategically space chairs in waiting areas to discourage social gathering and maintain social distancing.
- Set up a hand-sanitizing station for customers to use when entering and leaving the branch.
- Stagger shifts, start times and break times as feasible to reduce crowding and ensure employees can stay least six feet away from each other.
- Discourage handshaking. Encourage employees to use other noncontact methods of greeting.
- Bank managers should work with their facility manager to adjust the ventilation so the maximum amount of fresh air is delivered to occupied spaces and the humidity is 40%-60%. If possible, increase filter efficiency of HVAC units to highest level.
- Portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units may be considered to remove contaminants in the air.
- Post signage advising the public to stay at least six feet away from others and mark out such spaces when possible. (Please note, wait marker sign templates are available in the DSM Forward resources section.)
- Post signs and reminders at entrances and in strategic places listing the signs and symptoms of infection, the importance of handwashing and how to cover coughs and sneezes. This should include alternative formats for non-English speakers and populations with disabilities, including signs in braille and larger prints, as needed.
- Update employees on steps they should take to protect their own health while at work.
Restaurants & Families
In late April, Principal Financial Group and its independent Foundation, announced the establishment of the "Giving Chain" which purchases meals and activity kits from local businesses, then donates them to DSM nonprofits. These nonprofit partners distribute the packages, envisioned to include 15,000 meals and nearly 3,000 activity kits, across the local community.
Partners with nonprofits to assist those affected by the pandemic. The Wells Fargo Foundation has made grants totaling $515,000 to 25 Iowa nonprofits in the last few weeks to support community services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assist your neighbors in ways big and small. Bank Iowa launched Bank Iowa Helping Hand. The premise of the initiative is simple: Anyone can submit a community-focused idea, task or charitable cause, and if selected, Bank Iowa will lend a helping hand through financial sponsorship and/or human effort to bring the request to fruition.
The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.
*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction
. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.
Last updated: 5/17/2021