Metro Bank, Abington Street, is the latest Northampton town centre Business Hero. Lewis Taylor, Store Manager, looks back on the challenges of the year and says thank you to the people of Northampton …
“When the first lockdown was announced we knew as a bank we needed to be there for our community. The decision was made to keep our doors open but on shorter hours so we could best protect our customers and colleagues. We wanted to ensure that even in these times customers would be able to access their monies and open accounts as they would be able to normally.
Initially the decision was taken for us to close at the weekends for the first time in our history to ensure we were offering the best protection to colleagues and customer and stay open from Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. This was whilst we were waiting for PPE to be delivered and installed within the bank.
Once the store had been refitted with a hand sanitizer station and 2 metre distancing markers on the floor along, with new cough screens at the teller line and each desk had its own screen in place we were able to increase the volume of customers in store at one time and reopen our 7 day a week service with longer opening times of 9am till 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sundays. We knew this was important to go back to our unique model as a bank as our customers love the fact we are open at weekends as it gives them flexibility to access their banking needs with a person face to face.
We reached out to our vulnerable customers to see if they were ok and ask if there was any way we could support them during the lockdown. We were able to keep in contact with those who didn’t have any other support and ensured they knew we were here for them should they need anything at all.
We continued to support local charities and completed leaflet drops in the evenings for the British Red Cross and also delivered pharmacy prescriptions to those who were shielding and unable to go out to collect their medication. This filled me with great pride that as a bank we were able to support our local community in this way and we are continually looking at ways in which we can support. Over the coming weeks we are working with the Lewis Foundation in creating hampers for cancer patients with supplies and gifts in for the festive period.
We have tried to ensure that all of our services within the store have not been impacted by COVID and have been here for all of our business customers with offering them the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Our Local Business Managers have remained available either on the phone or in the store to support the volume of enquiries we have had from our existing customers and to manage expectations of new business enquiries, that we have seen coming into the store.
We have continued to support our business networks by continuing to offer our very popular in store monthly networking events over to the virtual world. We had to act quickly with this and ensure we continued to offer this amazing experience for our business customers to stay connected with each other during this time and offer valuable support and guidance between them.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the Northampton community for staying strong and together during this unprecedented time and if there is anyone out there that needs support our doors here at Metro are always open and we will as a community bank try to support and help in any way we can.”