As a follow-up to my first COVID-19 Newsletter, I wanted to share our latest plan of action in support of social distancing to combat the spread of the virus. As of March 17th, Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health has confirmed five new positive tests for COVID-19 in the city. This brings the total to 15 positive coronavirus cases with one of the five new cases suspected of being through community transmission as it cannot be easily traced back to its source.
Over the past week, we have seen a range of responses from banks and other credit unions to either reduce hours and/or close certain branches. In response, we have also seen members recently sign up for on-line banking and request a debit card which can be issued in-branch.
To further protect staff and members, we will be reducing Talka’s hours of operation and transitioning away from in-branch transactions. Effective Saturday, March 28th, Talka hours will be as follows;
• Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, Talka staff will be available to provide telephone banking and on-line support during the hours of 10 am to 4 pm but the branch itself will be closed to the public.
• Saturday and Wednesday, Talka will be closed until further notice. Logistically, it didn’t make sense to provide support during these half days and expect staff to make arrangements for child care, etc
Talka will continue to be open to the public next week to give members more time to take advantage of the flexibility, convenience and secure access to their funds that I had previously outlined as follows;
1. Debit Cards provide access to your funds 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Cash withdrawals can be made free of charge on an Exchange ATM Network which includes 170 credit unions and banks. To find an ATM near you, click here (https://www.theexchangenetwork.ca/). Many members also enjoy the convenience of making in-store purchases using their debit cards at most major retailers Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.
2. Talka will be increasing the daily limits on Debit Cards for ATM & POS activity to further reduce members’ reliance on in-branch transactions.
3. Members who have signed up for access to online banking from Talka’s website (https://www.talka.ca) can pay their bills on-line with just a couple of easy steps to set-up. To sign-up for online banking with Talka, members can phone or email the branch to request an on-line banking application form to be sent via email. Talka will complete the setup once the signed form is returned.
4. Installing Talka’s mobile app on your smartphone will give you the same on-line access plus the additional features of Interac eTransfer and Deposit Anywhere. Interac eTransfer is a convenient way of transferring money directly to your family and friends while Deposit Anywhere allows you to deposit cheques to your account by taking a picture using the app on your smartphone. Both these features are free to Talka members.
5. Telephone banking is still available to pay bills after answering a few personal questions to confirm your identity.
6. Member deposits may also be inserted into the drop box beside the front entrance door to the credit union and they will be processed the next business day.
7. Finally, members who have experienced a layoff and/or reduced hours from their employer and have difficulty making their next loan payment, should contact James Stephenson or Sylvia Johnston to discuss their options.