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Banks remain open to serve customers’ changing needs

Area banks remain open to serve the community, as members’ financial needs shift through the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers may notice some changes, with many lobbies closed for the time being.

Citizen’s State Bank’s lobbies may be closed, but the Cadott and Cornell branches still have drive-up options available. The Main Street location in Cadott, also is open for walk-ups.

“We’re going to be great stewards to our customers, to make sure we’re there in the time of their need,” said Tim Cruciani, Citizen’s State Bank president/CEO.

Cruciani says the bank has gotten a significant number of requests and has treated each request individually, so they can put the best solution forward. He also noted new programs are being approved by organizations like the Small Business Association and FDIC, and the bank is applying those to the appropriate customers.

“Home mortgage refinance has been so busy,” said Cruciani, adding they have kept up with the requests so far. “Our customers have been able to lock into some historically, the lowest rates, I’ve seen in a very long time.”

Cruciani also noted a few safety tips, when it comes to customers and their money. He reminded people not to withdraw large sums of money, if possible, since unsecured money can be lost, stolen or destroyed, and is not FDIC insured like money in the bank is.

The bank is also concerned about scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We would never ask for account information over the phone, so rest assured it is not the bank that is calling,” said Cruciani. “That’s probably one of the bigger lessons we are talking to our customers about right now.”

Jerry Kuehl, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Northwestern Bank, says they are getting a lot of calls for secondary market loan refinancing, which is for home mortgages.

Kuehl says the bank, including the Cornell location, has also seen more calls with inquiries about online banking accounts, especially from people who previously had electronic banking set up, but haven’t used it in a while, for resetting their passwords.

“The good news, is that the electronics are working really, really well,” said Kuehl. “People are finding them to be really helpful, especially now since our lobbies are closed.”

As the government response to COVID-19 shifts, Northwestern Bank is working with businesses to apply for any funds or assistance available. Kuehl says he foresees work shifting to help more individuals and families, as they begin to feel the effects of the closure of businesses.

“We’re here,” said Kuehl. “We’ve been here since 1904, and plan to be here for the next hundred years.”

SuperiorChoice Credit Union says nothing is too out of the ordinary, other than lobbies are closed to the public, which includes the Holcombe branch.

“As far as refinancing, anytime interest rates go down, COVID or any other event...people tend to want to refinance,” said Gary Elliott, president/CEO of SuperiorChoice Credit Union.

Elliott noted it is early in the situation, so response may change as the pandemic continues. He said, with any natural disaster, which they are considering COVID-19 to be, they could see an uptick in delinquency.

“That hasn’t been out of the ordinary, either, at this juncture,” said Elliott.