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In the immediate term, WBA will encourage attendees at our meetings and events as well as staff to practice appropriate sanitary, safety measures and good health habits.
BUSINESS & EMPLOYER RESOURCES
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
CDC Communication Resources (free videos, fact sheets and posters)
Guides influenza pandemic planning and provides recommendations for risk assessment, decision-making, and action in the U.S. It describes the progression of an influenza pandemic and outlines the indicators and assessments for the various stages.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
FRAUDS AND SCAMS
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FROM THE AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION:
· Do you have a pandemic business continuity plan and have you exercised it recently? Have you discussed it with your regulator?
· Do all your service providers have pandemic response plans, and have they shared them with you?
· Do you have a crisis communications plan? Are you prepared to communicate with your employees, customers and other stakeholders?
· What actions will you take if an employee contracts the virus?
· Have you encouraged cross-training among your employees on critical functions, in case they need to cover for each other?
· Do you allow for telecommuting, and are you prepared to allow many—if not all—of your employees to work from home?
· Have you stress-tested your online and mobile capabilities in case you need to close branches?
· Do you have a plan to extend relief to your customers who are affected by the coronavirus?
· Have you established a formal travel policy that addresses business and personal travel to affected regions, and the policies surrounding travelers’ return to work?
· Is business interruption due to pandemic a covered peril under your bank’s insurance policy?
ABA to Host Free Webinar on Pandemic Operational Risk
· ABA will host a second free webinar for members on coronavirus preparedness on Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m. EDT.
· The 90-minute webinar will focus on managing the pandemic’s operational risk, department by department.
· Speakers, including ABA SVP Paul Benda and Michael Berman, president and CEO of Ncontracts, a company that specializes in enterprise risk management, will offer a breakdown of risks by department.
· They will also address: forecasting changes in banking behavior and customer needs, determining if your existing business continuity plan is adequate and how to conduct a pandemic risk assessment, among other things.
CDC to Host Update Call on Coronavirus
· The CDC will host a call on Thursday, March 19, at 3 p.m. EDT, to provide an update on the coronavirus pandemic.
· Presenters will share guidance with the private sector, including how the CDC is responding to the outbreak.
· Questions may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fed Drops Rates to Zero, Announces Further Actions to Support Economy
· Underscoring the serious threat that the coronavirus pandemic poses to the global economy, the Federal Reserve on Sunday took emergency action to support the economy and the credit needs of households and businesses.
· The Federal Open Market Committee voted to reduce the federal funds rate by 100 basis points to a range of zero to 25 basis points.
· “Available economic data show that the U.S. economy came into this challenging period on a strong footing,” the FOMC said, but “[t]he effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook.”
· The FOMC said that it expects to maintain its near-zero range until “it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”
· The FOMC also said it would resume asset purchases, increasing its holdings of Treasurys by at least $500 billion and of agency mortgage-backed securities by at least $200 billion in coming months.
Fed Details Actions to Support Business, Household Credit Needs
· Meanwhile, to help address credit challenges in light of the pandemic, the Fed lowered the primary credit rate paid by institutions using the discount window, encouraged banks to use intraday credit from the reserve banks and cut reserve requirement ratios to zero, effective March 26.
· Noting that U.S. banking firms “have built up substantial levels of capital and liquidity in excess of regulatory minimums and buffers,” the Fed also encouraged banks to use their capital and liquidity buffers to lend to coronavirus-affected borrowers. “
· The Federal Reserve supports firms that choose to use their capital and liquidity buffers to lend and undertake other supportive actions in a safe and sound manner,” the Fed said.
· The Fed and five other central banks also said they would ease strains in global funding markets through standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements.
· Read more.
OCC, FDIC Issue Guidance for Banks Closing Branches Due to Coronavirus
· The OCC on Friday issued guidance for banks that may need to temporarily close or otherwise restrict access to a facility due to staffing issues or other precautionary measures related to the coronavirus pandemic.
· The agency directed banks in these cases to notify their supervisory office and their customers about the closure and to communicate the availability of alternative service options “as soon as practical.”
· The OCC also encouraged banks to work constructively with borrowers and others affected by the virus in their communities.
· The agencies emphasized that “prudent efforts to modify the terms on existing loans for affected customers should not be subject to examiner criticism.”
· Such efforts could include extending repayment terms, restructuring existing loans or easing terms for new loans.
· The FDIC also issued its own statement encouraging banks to work with customers in accordance with safe and sound banking practices.
· The agency said it would work with state regulatory agencies to expedite requests to open temporary facilities for banks that may be facing operational challenges.
· "In most cases, a telephone notice to the FDIC or state authority will suffice to start the approval process, with the necessary written notification being submitted shortly thereafter," the FDIC said.
Fed: No Payments Service Disruptions Expected from Coronavirus
· Federal Reserve Financial Services on Thursday issued a statement assuring its customers that it does not anticipate business disruptions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
· The statement provided guidance for accessing FedLine Solutions outside of a customer’s normal working environment and links to resources to assist.
· Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve banks are continuing to monitor for any volume changes in the processing of check, ACH, National Settlement Service, wire or securities transactions, the statement said, and all published processing deadlines and funds availability schedules for ACH and checks remain in effect.
· However, customers using FedLine solutions as their primary method to access the Fedwire Funds Service and Fedwire Securities Service should not rely on the Fedwire offline service as a contingency for processing transactions, as it is not designed to serve as a backup for a broad-based disruption, the statement noted.
· Banks unable to access Fedwire Services through FedLine should consider other alternatives for processing critical transactions.
Bank of America Chief Highlights Industry Response to Coronavirus in CBS Interview
· Interviewed on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan emphasized the role banks are playing in the global “war” on the coronavirus. For example, he emphasized that customers should call the bank if they or their business is affected the COVID-19 and they can’t make a payment.
· “We defer the payment,” he said. “We’ve done it for every natural disaster. But we’re not alone as a company. The whole industry does this. This is what we do.”
· ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols made similar comments in a White House meeting last week in which Moynihan and other major bank CEOs briefed President Trump on the industry’s coronavirus response.
· In the CBS interview, Moynihan emphasized banks’ strong capital and liquidity position, noting that the “industry comes in with capital [and] liquidity that is so different than the last crisis.”
· He also addressed how banks are working to protect their employees from the risks posed by COVID-19.