With the coronavirus (COVID-19) now present in South Dakota, we want to assure you we’re committed to taking precautions that protect the well-being of our customers, communities and employees, while also providing consistent and uninterrupted service.
As a locally-owned business, we care deeply about the health of our customers, communities and employees. We’re all blessed to live and work in an area with a long tradition of joining forces when presented with any type of challenge. COVID-19 is no exception. We must all work together and do our best to stop the spread of the virus.
We will continue to communicate and provide updates as this situation evolves. In the meantime, if you have questions, please call us at 1-800-253-0362.
These topics are addressed below:
- What is BankWest doing to keep customers and employees safe?
- How can customers best manage their accounts remotely?
- Are bank deposits safe?
- Why have my deposit rates gone down?
- What is currently happening with mortgage interest rates? Can I apply without coming in to the bank?
- How is BankWest assisting customers for whom COVID-19 has created financial hardship?
- What should customers do to reduce fraud and cybersecurity risk?
- Where can you find dependable health information and updates regarding COVID-19?
- Are there any special programs available for small businesses?
- Limited Transaction Requirement Temporarily Suspended
What is BankWest doing to keep customers and employees safe?
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following precautions are underway at all of our locations:
- Temporarily limiting lobby access. Please use drive-through services where available or call a BankWest associate at 1-800-253-0362 to make an appointment.
- Increasing cleaning routines in public areas and on surfaces such as door handles, hand railings, work stations and teller areas
- Providing hand sanitizer for customers to use when visiting our locations
- Providing employees with cleansing wipes and hand sanitizer
- Encouraging frequent and thorough hand washing among all employees
- Requiring employees who are ill to stay home
We want to ensure customers have access to our bankers while protecting our customers, communities and employees. With this, we ask that customers please help keep our lobby traffic to a minimum by:
- Using our drive-through lanes where possible, or calling your banker in advance (605-224-7391 or 800-253-0362) to make an appointment if you need to visit our branches in person
- Using Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) where possible. Our ITMs function much like a traditional ATM, but it also allows face-to-face video conversations with our eBanking staff. With our ITMs you have the ability to:
- Make deposits
- Cash checks
- Withdraw cash
- Make loan payments
- Transfer funds
- Ask about accounts
- Taking advantage of technology services that allow you to manage your accounts remotely
How can customers best manage their accounts remotely?
Though we have added safeguards at all locations, we encourage customers to use our convenient digital services such as online and mobile banking to reduce the need to come in. These tools will help you stay connected to your finances, while minimizing your contact with other people – one of the best ways of reducing your risk of coming into contact with COVID-19.
- Online Banking
- Mobile Banking
- Mobile Remote Deposit (Mobile Deposit customers may make 20 mobile deposits per monthly statement cycle at no charge. A Remote Deposit Fee of $1.00 will be assessed for each mobile deposit in excess of 20.)
Our eBanking Center also stands ready to serve you by phone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT, seven days a week (with the exception of certain Federal Holidays). eBanking can also help you activate online banking and mobile banking without your having to come in to a physical location.
Are bank deposits safe?
Nowhere is your money safer than at BankWest. It is always appropriate to keep some cash on hand. However, we highly encourage customers not to stockpile large amounts of cash for a number of reasons. If cash is lost, stolen or destroyed you have no way of replacing it.
The money you keep in the bank is both federally insured and physically protected. The federal banking system is specifically designed to protect your money while providing you with ongoing access. For years, BankWest has been developing and testing comprehensive plans to manage through emergency situations. We are well prepared. Rest assured we will continue to provide access to your accounts regardless of where COVID-19 takes us.
Nowhere is your money safer than in a federally-insured bank account. For more information about the safety of FDIC-insured deposits, visit https://www.fdic.gov/coronavirus/faq-customer.pdf.
Why have my deposit rates gone down?
One of the factors banks use in setting deposit rates is the Federal overnight funding rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve recently made a fairly significant drop in rates. When they lower rates, banks consider how that affects things like earnings on loans and investments, then adjust their internal rates accordingly.
What is currently happening with mortgage interest rates? Can I apply without coming in to the bank?
With the current environment, no one can predict whether rates will continue to rise or fall. If you are watching the market and are considering locking in a rate for a purchase or refinance, now may be the right time to act. To apply, please use our online mortgage application at https://bankwest.mymortgage-online.com/. You may also call and set up an appointment to speak with one of our experienced mortgage originators at 1-800-253-0362 or 1-605-224-7391.
How is BankWest assisting customers for whom COVID-19 has created financial hardship?
We understand that the coronavirus may present significant financial challenges for our customers and their families. If you, a friend or family member has been adversely affected by COVID-19 and have questions regarding how we can help, please contact your local BankWest branch or give us a call at 1-800-253-0362. We look forward to discussing options. Because each customer situation is different, we can best assist you by discussing your individual circumstances.
For ePlus Checking Customers:
Because of the recommended social behaviors surrounding COVID-19 (including self-quarantine and social distancing) you have likely reduced use of your BankWest debit card. BankWest is temporarily refunding the $5.00 monthly charge for ePlus Checking Account customers who are unable to meet the requirement of at least 15 debit card transactions posted to your account per qualification cycle. You may see the monthly charge assessed on your monthly statement, but it will be refunded to your account within three business days. Please note that all other requirements to earn ePlus Reward Rates and avoid service charges do still apply.
What should customers do to reduce fraud and cybersecurity risk?
Unfortunately, during times of emergencies fraud attempts may increase. Malicious people will look to use these circumstances to steal your data, your identity, or your money. In order to help you protect your information during this emergency, here are some important tips to consider:
- Do not disclose personal or financial account information via email and be wary of emails asking you to click a link to log in to your account.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails; this includes emails with links related to Coronavirus.
- If all else fails and you aren’t sure about the email, delete it and call the company directly to ask them. It is best to look up the sender’s contact information yourself instead of using contact information from the message.
- Phone calls
- Most companies will not call you directly and ask for your username, password, personal identification number (PIN) or other account information.
- Never give out any account information unless YOU call. You should only give out account information if you specifically call that company/person/business.
- If you aren’t sure about the call, hang up and call the company directly to ask about the inquiry.
- Text messaging
- Most companies will not ask you for account information via text. CALL the business from a verified phone number to double check.
- Be aware of incoming text messages that ask you to click on a link.
- Browse the internet safely and be aware before clicking on links or downloading materials.
- Thoroughly review your accounts each day to ensure all transactions are authorized.
- Verify the authenticity of charitable organizations prior to making donations.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date with BankWest – log in to your online banking and verify under “Settings – Profile”
- Keep informed to avoid Coronavirus scams by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s website
Where can you find dependable health information and updates regarding COVID-19?
Information regarding updates surrounding COVID-19 can be found on legitimate, government websites such as:
Are there any special programs available for small businesses?
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone. The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as the loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8-week period after the loan is made; and employee and compensation levels are maintained.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Governor Kristi Noem and her team are working closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to activate the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program in South Dakota to assist eligible businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. Affected small businesses and non-profits should download, complete, and submit the SBA EIDL Worksheet and instructions to expedite activation of the EIDL program. Completed forms may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, this initial survey form is not a SBA loan application. When the EIDL program is activated, businesses will be contacted to apply directly to the SBA.
Limited Transaction Requirement Temporarily Suspended
In order to provide bank customers with more flexibility in accessing deposits, the Federal Reserve has temporarily suspended the rule classifying Savings and Money Markets as limited transaction accounts. With this change, the transfers and electronic payments that were limited to a maximum of (6) per month from these are accounts are considered unlimited until further notice. BankWest has adjusted its internal systems to reflect the rule change.