Farewell 2020, Welcome 2021
Dear County Bank Customers, Neighbors and Friends,
Recently the Washington Post asked readers to describe 2020 in a word or phrase. We liked the idea and asked our County Bank team to do the same and to share the question with their family unit to talk about what others were thinking. Then we asked them to think about how they would describe their thoughts and hopes for 2021. As we say farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021, we thought it would be fun to share our team’s thoughts and how events impacted County Bank, our team members, our customers and our communities in 2020.
I am pretty sure we can all agree 2020 was a year like no other! Each of us started January like every new year, with our own hopes and dreams. The economy was strong, farmers were hoping for an early spring and a good growing season, the kids were back in school, Iowa was the center of attention in anticipation of the 2020 Presidential Caucuses and life was good. Then March hit and we all know what happened next.
“2020 was like being on house arrest without an ankle monitor.”
It wasn’t long before everyone was learning to live within their own 4 walls. Businesses closed and only those considered “essential services” stayed open. County Bank brought out our “pandemic Response Plan” and pretty soon we got the word out that we would be open and staffed but lobbies would be closed and most banking services would be via Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit and PAT and ATMs. The bank was open and our team was working but our doors were locked.
“I’m fine, this is fine, we are all fine.”
We asked our team to be aware, to be careful and to stay safe. County Bank was fortunate that we had limited exposure to COVID (so far) and our attention focused on serving our customers while supporting team members faced with exposures, quarantines and staying home with kids doing virtual school.
“Feels like a test I didn’t study for. But sit back and hold on for the ride.”
At times it felt that way but County Bank didn’t sit back and we were prepared. We stocked up on laptop computers, checked our bandwidth and implemented a system for our team to work remote so that we always had a staffed bank and our team could adjust to personal and family needs. And when our lobbies re-opened, we were well stocked with hand sanitizer, masks and social distancing signs.
County Bank implemented many changes to our digital banking platforms during the past several years. As lobbies closed at banks statewide and our peers struggled to implement alternative banking strategies, we pivoted to ramping up services with Online and Mobile Banking and PAT, our 8 interactive teller machines. We are so proud of our entire team who worked with customers to help them navigate through new ways of banking via online and mobile channels. And special kudos to our PAT tellers who continued the County Bank tradition of face-to-face personal service, even though it was on a screen. We were “enlightened” to know we could continue to be a full service bank with closed lobbies.
“Loyalty and Commitment.”
For nearly 10 months County Bank has been available with “normal” hours and available customer service and loan assistance for our customers. A big thanks to all our loyal customers who have stayed with us as we all learned to work through the Pandemic of 2020. We know that going into 2021 there will still be challenges but our committed team is here to serve our customers.
As we celebrate the New Year, we know there are challenges ahead but together we are prepared to begin 2021 with a new spirit of optimism. The phrase “new normal” is fast becoming the norm! We will continue to flatten the curve, wear masks, hand sanitize and social distance for a while. For now we have adjusted to living in a COVID world and hopeful when the vaccine is readily available.
In closing, a toast to you, our customers and friends who remind us every day that County Bank, our team and the services we provide are valued and appreciated. Together we are prepared for 2021 and the possibilities that lie ahead. We wish all of you and your families a happy, prosperous and most of all a healthy New Year.
With thanks and appreciation,