OLEAN — Banks and other financial institutions are trying to make life a bit easier amid concerns over coronavirus.

While financial institutions are essential businesses under the state’s coronavirus orders, several companies have reported changes to operations to serve customers while limiting possible exposure to disease.

Olean Area Federal Credit Union, at its locations in Olean and Allegany, announced that drive-through and ATM services only will be available. Drive-through hours currently are unchanged.

However, those needing loan and account services are encouraged to make an appointment for a face-to-face meeting.

The daily cash withdrawal limit is $3,000, bank officials have noted, and the institutions cannot process rolled coins at drive-through windows. Customers are also asked to try to limit the number of transactions being conducted in the drive-through windows in order to reduce potential exposure to themselves and staff.

“Olean Area FCU appreciates everyone’s flexibility and patience as they work to provide creative solutions during these challenging times. They have complete confidence in their ability to serve members during the duration of their lobby closures.”

Community Bank NA, the Dewitt-based bank with multiple branches in the region, has also made the shift to less hands-on banking solutions.

In a letter from CEO Mark Tryniski, the bank reported that drive-through and appointment-only in-person services will remain available.

“We understand the vital importance of having access to your accounts,” he added. “During this time, we strongly encourage you to use Community Bank’s digital tools and phone banking options that will allow you to bank from the comfort and safety of your home.

“Finally, beware of scams — the coronavirus could entice cyber criminals,” Tryniski said. “Community Bank will never contact you to provide or verify your personal account information including: full social security or account numbers, online banking account username or password.”

Warsaw-based Five Star Bank, which operates more than 50 branches in Western New York, reported that along with a push to drive-through and online banking, there will be changes aimed at alleviating burdens on customers.

“We have put several measures in place, so we may operate safely and effectively while offering all of the comprehensive banking, investment, and insurance services our customers have come to depend on,” bank officials said in a press release. “We have also developed a series of solutions to support our customers and allow them to focus on their health and safety.”

Through April 30, the bank will waive early CD penalty fees for withdrawals up to $20,000, eliminate all insufficient funds and returned item fees; eliminate all Pay by Phone fees; waive all late fees; and offer the opportunity for monthly mortgage, home equity loan or home equity line payment relief.

“Business customers are being faced with challenging and unique circumstances,” officials added.

Smethport, Pa.-based Hamlin Bank and Trust also announced it was limiting operations, with appointment-only meetings for new loan and deposit accounts.

All of the bank’s drive-through facilities will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff members will continue to be available at our branch offices to provide assistance by phone. Officials also recommended using telephone, mobile and internet banking products as alternatives to in-person visits.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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