As Our Country Faces Crisis, Bankers are Heroes Too

By James McKenna, Chairman and CEO

04/24/2020

James McKenna, North Shore Bank Chairman and CEOJames McKenna
Chairman and CEO Jim McKenna recognizes the efforts North Shore Bank and other community banks are making to serve the needs of their customers and communities. He wrote this commentary to bring attention to the unsung heroes fighting the economic war our country now faces due to consequences of COVID-19.

Our country is facing a health crisis like none other, and we deeply appreciate all those heroically working the front lines to fight the war against COVID-19. Every day we hear stories about the doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery clerks, delivery people, and many others who put themselves at great risk to protect and save lives to ensure the health and safety of our country.


Simultaneously, there is another crisis facing our country: an economic one. While stay-at­-home orders are central to slowing the spread of this virus, they are also slowing a number of our economy’s important sectors and bringing many to a complete halt. So many people and businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

It requires tremendous effort and dedication of our community banks in a race against time to protect the financial health and well-being of our local communities. I have witnessed firsthand the tremendous efforts being made to quickly develop and support the necessary infrastructure to facilitate access to a banking lifeline.

People on the front lines in our community banks are working tirelessly to help fellow citizens weather this financial crisis. Loan officers are working day and night to help people refinance their homes and prepare applications for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Call centers are working around the clock to provide guidance and support. IT staff are on 24/7 to keep our country’s vital financial systems up and running, and drive-through tellers are putting themselves at personal risk to help people make needed transactions. This is all accomplished because of the tireless support of back-office staff and remote workers.

Our community banks, and the people who work for them, are the oxygen and lifeblood of our economic system. Without these incredible people across our nation, the financial infrastructure of our country would be in complete disarray. I count these people among the heroes fighting this war, and I am deeply grateful for their service.

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