Mystery shoppers reveal that banks are struggling with COVID-19 response

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, banks are reluctant to suggest alternative channels to their customers, says report.

A recent study examined the response of the 15 leading North American banks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers discovered that tellers only at three banks wore masks 100% of the time. 

Participants visited 700 bank branches across the continent belonging to leading institutions, such as Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and TD Bank. Overall these fifteen banks operate over 33,000 branches.

Source: Dalbar.

It appears that the ATMs present the sorest point for the banks. The ATMs in only 19% of the examined U.S. branches had a sanitizer available and only 20% of the branches were equipped with dividers between the ATMs. Canadian branches did not fair much better either.

Another major criticism comes from the fact that the banks are not doing enough to inform and nudge their customers towards alternative banking channels. Only 22% of the branches were inviting their customers to use online banking instead and only 15% were suggesting the usage of ATMs instead of interactions with the tellers.

Source: Dalbar.

Meanwhile, the teller area was being cleaned between customers only in 19% of the surveyed branches, and the ATMs were cleaned between use in only 7% of the branches

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the case for contactless payments, including cryptocurrency, as pressing as ever. The U.S. lags behind many nations when it comes to contactless payments. Unlikely, it is a coincidence that during the pandemic, the 14 leading global banks lost $635 billion in market capitalization.