Banks have plan of action for COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020

Local banks Farmers Bank and Trust and Southern Bancorp have announced their plans of action for COVID-19.

“With the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Farmers Bank has enacted their disaster planning procedures. The main focus is to keep our customers and employees safe, while still keeping the bank open and make sure the customer to have full access to their accounts,” Farmers Bank & Trust President Randy Scott said. “Plan A is to continue to operate as normal. We hope to always stay at Plan A; however, we do understand the virus will most likely hit our markets and we must be prepared to move on to the next steps. Plan B is to allow back office personnel the ability to work from home. Employees that deal with customers will continue to work as normal. Plan C is to close all bank lobbies and operate the drive thrus only. Additional precautions (gloves, masks, cleaning supplies) would be used. Loan and customer service customers will communicate via email and telephone. Documents would be sent via secure email if necessary. Deposits and loan draws would be handled electronically.”

“Plan D is to close all branch lobbies and drive thrus,” Scott continued. “The automated personal teller machines located at East Branch, North Branch and Wilson would handle all teller transactions. All loan and customer service issues would be handled via telephone and email. We would operate the banks with ½ staff, rotating one week at a time.”

“The employees that are not working would be paid and expected to stay in quarantine until their week to work to allow for a healthy workforce. We would continue to operate under these procedures until the health threat subsides. There is a lot of panic in the country at the current time. Our focus is to not overreact and make sure 1.) our employees are safe 2.) our customers have full access to their bank. We strongly encourage you to stay home if you are sick or feel that you have been exposed to the virus. We need a healthy staff to take care of our customers. “

Southern Bancorp released the following statement, “The health and safety of our customers and employees are our top priority, and we want to share with you just a few of the things we’re doing to ensure both. We have ramped up cleaning services in all our locations as well as provided hand sanitizers at our locations. We are also closely following the CDC’s recommendations throughout the organization and encourage customers to do the same. More information can be found at​; ​We encourage our customers to utilize online, mobile and telephone based banking services when possible (Southern Bancorp apps are available for both Apple and Android devices) and as always, you may call our toll-free number for questions or assistance (800-789-3428). While location and service hour changes are not currently planned, we do encourage all Southern Bancorp customers to check our website often ( as well as our Facebook (@SouthernBancorp) and Twitter (@SouthernBancorp) feeds for the latest information. You may also call our toll-free number for branch specific information. Thank you for your trust and patience.”