Benchmark, COVID-19, and You (updated 7/17/2020)

A message from Jay Stafford, President/CEO, Benchmark Community Bank

July 17, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

Just past the halfway mark for the year, isn't it hard to believe how normal life was just a few months ago? Then along came COVID-19 and our world seemingly changed overnight. Working through this pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns has presented unique situations and challenges that none of us imagined.

How is this affecting us going forward? It seems to change almost daily. On June 29th, we began reopening our lobbies and have been delighted to welcome you back for in-person banking. If you’ve visited us in the lobby, we hope you have seen that your welfare and that of our employees continues to be top of mind. Personal safety protocols - monitored lobby access, hand sanitizer stations, heightened cleaning procedures, and social distancing – help us ensure that lobby banking is as secure as we can make it.

Around the Benchmark footprint and not too far beyond, we continue to see fluctuations in new virus outbreaks and want to let you know that those things don’t go unnoticed. As we monitor each individual community we serve, we are also working to manage anticipated hybrid school schedules affecting many of you, as well as many of our employees.

As we all navigate the next few months, we want to let you know that you may experience times when your local Benchmark branch lobby is available by appointment only. If your banking need requires a lobby visit, we encourage you to call ahead for an appointment. Otherwise, we invite you to continue banking at our drive-up windows, ATMs, night depositories, or digitally with our Internet Banking and BCB Mobile app.

One of the things I have missed most over the past few months is seeing you in person. Quick visits to our lobby or out in one of our communities give me the chance to hear from you. Your thoughts are important, so please drop me a line at: jay.stafford@bcbonline.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

On behalf of everyone at Benchmark, we are honored to have you as a member of our family. You had a choice of banking partners and we are humbled you chose us. Our goal is to provide you with the banking experience you desire and to go the extra mile to meet your financial needs.

Sending you and your family best wishes for a happy, healthy remainder of 2020, I am

Sincerely,

Jay A. Stafford
President/CEO

Benchmark is ready to help.

Our slogan With you for Life is more than a slogan. It is Benchmark’s bedrock principle for our relationship with you in all the situations life can throw at you. The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of our customers in ways completely unanticipated at the beginning of this year.

Benchmark stands ready to assist you in exploring options to help you, your family, and your business navigate these stressful times. In addition to options Benchmark offers, we can help you look at the relief programs our state and federal governments are introducing to assist Americans being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your household or business is unique, so every available option may not be the best solution for you. We are ready to walk this path with you to find a way to get you through.

I've lost my income due to COVID-19. What do I do?

The media has reported a variety of options for financial relief that can be of help to consumers and small businesses. We recommend you obtain the most up-to-date information from trusted government and institutional websites as details are constantly evolving. Check out our Trusted Resources section below. In addition to program details, we have posted available fact sheets to help decipher the massive details for some of these programs. We invite you to check back here periodically for updates.

Who should I call?

If you are looking for relief for personal or small business needs less than $10,000, your local Branch Manager is a great place to start. You can also contact us through e-mail. One of our branch professionals will be back in touch within one business day of receipt of your message.

If you are a small business in need of more than $10,000, your Business Banker is your best contact. She/he knows you and your business and will be a helpful guide for the process.

How do I get in contact beyond telephone or e-mail?

Below is information about how you can connect with our branches for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Your Branch Manager or Business Banker can assist with any transactions that may require a person-to-person visit.

How Banking Looks for Now

With all the coronavirus uncertainty swirling around these days, the last thing you need is to have to manage more of it. Knowing that you can connect with your bank to keep your finances in order is one area of which you can feel secure. Rest assured that your Benchmark team will be with you every step of the way to help keep you connected in-person in our lobbies or drive-up windows or remotely via ATM, online, mobile, or telephone services.

Our Current Plan

As of June 29, 2020, all of our branches have reopened, except for our location in South Boston, VA which is available via drive-up for regular business hours and in the lobby by appointment only.

You are welcome to wear a mask to enter our lobbies. However, you will be asked to briefly lower your mask so that our staff may identify you.

Benchmark is practicing social distancing inside our lobbies. When you enter, you will see red floor prompts indicating where to stand to maintain 6' of distance between you and other customers or staff.

We also have hand sanitizer stations available for your use while inside our branches.

Please note that access to your branch lobby may be dependent upon the number of people in the branch at any given time. Branch staff may need to limit the number of customers accessing the building. If your need requires an inside visit, we recommend contacting your branch by phone to set an appointment.

If an inside visit is not required for your transaction, we encourage you to continue connecting with us via alternate means:

  • Drive-up windows
  • ATMs
  • Night depository (with next business day processing)

NOTE: Due to the evolving situation, lobby operations are subject to change in accordance with recommendations and/or requirements by state and federal agencies.

Our 24-Hour Access Services

Our ATMs operate 24-hours daily. The following ATM locations accept cash and check deposits:

  • In Virginia
    • Blackstone: 400 Church Street
    • Clarksville: 133 College Street
    • Farmville: 1577 S. Main Street
    • South Boston: 1135 Huell Matthews Highway
    • South Hill: 905 N. Mecklenburg Avenue
  • In North Carolina
    • Henderson: 1750 Graham Avenue
    • Youngsville: 110 S. College Street

 Our 24-hour services are also available to manage your accounts:

Protect Your Personal Information and Avoid Scams

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a new wave of malicious activity. We are receiving reports of phishing e-mails from what appear to be trusted sources such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and some of your favorite retailers. If you receive an e-mail offering free gift certificates "to help our loyal customers during this difficult time," don’t bite!

Protect yourself and your money! Here’s how:

  • If an unsolicited e-mail contains links or attachments, do not click or open!
  • If someone calls and asks for your Social Security number, account numbers, or login information, hang up! They’re up to no good!
  • Do not call any telephone numbers listed in the e-mails. They’re likely cloned numbers to look like a legitimate sender.
  • If someone claims to be from Benchmark and asks for personal information, hang up! Then call your local branch to report the call.

Malicious activity is likely to increase as the pandemic persists. Be vigilant while accessing resources. The Federal Trade Commission has a list of common scams that you can review to stay up-to-date on how to prevent fraud.

We Are Here for You

Whether the coronavirus has affected your business, your employment situation, or anything in between, we want you to know that we’re here to help. Just call your local branch manager or business banker and they will assist you as you face any financial challenges in the days and weeks ahead. That’s our promise.

Trusted Resources

CDC Updates Concerning COVID-19

Commonwealth of Virginia's COVID-19 Updates

North Carolina's Response to COVID-19

Trusted Resources for Business Owners

National Federation of Independent Business' FAQs for Small Businesses

U.S. SBA Fact Sheet for Economic Injury Disaster Loans

U.S. SBA Disaster Loan Assistance

Virginia Small Business Development Center

North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center