Banks and credit unions are closing branches or lobbies, relying on drive-through, ATMs and mobile banking as they hope to balance accessibility with consumer convenience.
Bremer Bank announced it will be indefinitely closing all its bank lobbies on Wednesday but keeping its drive-throughs open.
Bremer, which has 80 branch locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, also said it will continue to maintain and service its ATMs and remote deposit boxes.
"Experts are repeatedly stating that the most effective way to mitigate this pandemic is to practice social distancing," said Jeanne Crain, Bremer president and CEO, in a statement. "Through these actions, Bremer will continue to serve our customers while also taking part in our collective responsibility to 'flatten the curve.' "
A Bremer spokeswoman said nearly all of its business can be done in the drive-throughs. Customers who require person-to-person contact or access to safe deposit boxes are encouraged to call ahead for an appointment.
Minneapolis-based US Bank announced that beginning Wednesday it would limit branch banking hours to 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also reminded customers of its online, mobile and telephone banking options. Branches that normally open later or close earlier would keep those hours.
Many banks and credit unions have invested heavily in online and mobile banking options, and the institutions, including Bremer, are reminding customers of those options.
Wings Financial Credit Union, Minnesota's largest, announced Tuesday that it would close three of its 24 branch locations until further notice, including two in downtown Minneapolis and the Delta Air Lines Building C Branch in Bloomington.
Those three branches include some of Wings' 40 Personal Teller Machines, which include video screens that connect with employees at Wings' Apple Valley headquarters.
Those machines can do virtually all normal teller transactions and will still be available to customers, according to a Wings spokesperson.
The company has provided alternative branch locations for those customers to use during the temporary closings. Wings is also asking members seeking mortgage applications to use its mortgage-application website rather than in-person visits.
Bloomington-based Bridgewater Bancshares has temporarily closed its branch locations in Greenwood, St. Louis Park and St. Paul and moved to smaller rotating employee teams in its other branches.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network issued a news release asking consumers to use mobile and online banking options when possible. The group also urged consumers to work with their credit unions rather than withdraw large sums of cash, reminding members their deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to $250,000.
"Minnesota Credit Unions are safe, sound and secure, and have plans ready in national emergencies," MnCUN President and CEO Mark Cummins said in the release. "The NCUA insurance that all of our members have is meant to provide consumers' confidence during times of uncertainty."
Bloominton-based SharePoint Credit Union is temporarily closing lobbies on Wednesday and branch locations in Plymouth, Andover, Bloomington and Staunton, VA. It is also asking customers to schedule appointments for business banking, mortgage lending and safe deposit boxes.
Other banks and credit unions are continuing to monitor the situation and said they will be following public health guidelines.
Lonsdale-baased Frandsen Bank and Trust which has branches in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, has been working a response plan since Feb. 28 asking customers to take advantage of its drive-through and night-deposit facilities among its virus mitigation efforts. While it hasn't closed its lobbies it is limiting nonessential visitors and reminding customers of banking options that don't require office visits.
A local Wells Fargo spokesperson said Tuesday via email that all of its Minnesota branches are open and operating according to normal business hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among its good hygiene recommendations, suggests people use tap and pay rather than handle lots of cash.
Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926