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Santa Barbara area bank adapting customer service to stem coronavirus spread

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Blake DeVine/KEYT
Locally owned American Riviera Bank has quickly adapted its operations in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Many local businesses are struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, banks will play a critical role in helping these business owners weather the storm. 

Locally-owned American Riviera Bank has quickly adapted its operations in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

This means asking customers to use ATMs, Night Drops and Drive-Up windows exclusively instead of visiting inside branches.

“We’re trying to protect our employees, clients while still servicing the community,” American Riviera Bank vice president Joanne Funari said.

“We adapted because we’re a community bank,” American Riviera Bank president Jeff DeVine said. “We know that our customers are relying on us during their time of need in order to make sure that they can still do there banking as usual.”

While the bank is taking necessary steps to limit in-person visits within their branches, customers appreciate that they’re still handling many essential needs.

“The fact that they’re offering this is absolutely wonderful because they are showing that they are supporting the community,” Santa Barbara resident Kim Cochran said. 

“If you take the precautions that people are actually taking with gloves and keeping a safe distance, I think what the bank is doing is proactive,” Santa Barbara resident Loren Fenske said.

Drive-up windows are available at the Goleta and Paso Robles branches.  

At other branches, employees will be available to help customers with drop-off options for making deposits and delivering documents.

For branches without drive-up windows, team members are helping employees outside the front door.

“In Santa Barbara, Montecito and San Luis Obispo, we don’t have a drive-up,” DeVine said. “What we’ve done is that we’ve moved the banking outside.”

This also means taking extra precautions. 

“That’s great, you know less contact as they’re saying social distancing is a plus,” Fenske said.

While our society continues to rapidly change in response to this pandemic, it’s important for banks such as American Riviera to adapt in order to survive. 

“Any part of the economy that can continue working needs to happen,” Cochran said. “So many businesses and people are affected by this.”

“We are open and we are well capitalized,” Funari concluded. “We’re safe and sound and we’re here to stay.”

For clients in need of access to their safe deposit box, the bank will escort them into the branch while utilizing strict hand sanitizing protocol.

Jeff Devine, featured in this article, is the father of reporter Blake Devine.

California / Community / Coronavirus / Economy / Health / Home

Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX My Fox 11