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) found that in June, employed people who were most likely to telework because of the pandemic were in professional and related occupations (54%) and management, business and financial operations occupations (50%). According to the BLS, 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. In Iowa, net job loss from February to June in the financial activities industry and professional and business services industry was 2.8% and 7.4% respectively. New opportunities are on the horizon for these organizations as they navigate changes due to the pandemic in the regulatory, ethical and legal environment.
In addition to business continuity challenges, insurers of all lines face challenges in both loss and fiscal environments. Unprecedently low yields and uncertain loss and regulatory environments create growing financial pressures for insurance providers. This could lead to both short- and long-term financial implications for insurers, depending on how the pandemic plays out over time.
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 may have been exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should take precautions, including self-quarantine, in accordance with CDC guidance.
- Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- When possible, practice social distancing of at least six feet and wear appropriate PPE when working in close proximity to other employees or customers, especially if working directly with customers.
- Employees handling cash should wear gloves.
- Masks should be used for employees working in close proximity to others.
- Provide accommodations, such as specific hours, for vulnerable populations.
Process & Space Modifications
- Encourage employees to work from home if possible.
- Implement measures to enable six feet social distancing.
- Direct branch visits to drive-thru windows, ATMs or mobile banking apps for routine transactions that do not require face-to-face assistance.
- Encourage telephone or virtual meetings regarding loans, financial planning, etc.
- Restrict lobby access for appointment only and allow for time to sanitize between appointments.
- Set up a hand-sanitizing station for customers to use when entering and leaving the branch.
- Install Plexiglass barriers between staff and the public.
- Consider staggering shifts and breaks to reduce staff interactions.
- Limit congregation in office spaces.
- Limit non-essential worker interaction across floors, buildings, campuses, worksites, etc.
- Frequently disinfect all high-touch surfaces and items like door knobs, light switches, touchpads, terminals, etc.
- Regularly clean all common areas and shared electronic equipment.
- Post signage at the entrance stating that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted entry.
- 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.)
- Update employees on steps they should take to protect their own health while at work, including expectations such as any training requirements for health and safety.
- Remind the public to stay at least six feet away from others and mark out such spaces when possible.
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: 8/17/2020