A Message From Our CEO
- March 18, 2020
To our valued customers and friends:
In normal times, the core values of CenterState serve our company as a gentle reminder to help us focus on what is most important. In times of stress and anxiety, like the environment we find ourselves in today with the spread of COVID-19, our core values serve to give us crystal clear and sober direction as we consider our priorities in actively responding to this situation: Be local market driven, look at the long term horizon, provide world class service, focus on our relationships and our faith and family.
Underlying our actions is the assumption that the COVID-19 situation is going to get worse before it gets better. As more test kits are available, we expect reported cases to jump. Our health care system will be taxed, and we will need to increase required social distancing. While the coronavirus is fundamentally a health crisis, the disruption in our daily lives from this disease will unfortunately hurt the economy and livelihood of many of our customers and impact the bank.
As we continue to respond to this crisis, we wanted to detail some of the steps we are taking to protect our customers, our employees and their families as well as the bank.
Protecting the Health of our Customers and Employees
Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers, employees, and those most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our communities. We have, and are planning to put the below action items in motion:
Upcoming Branch Changes: Currently, our branches are fully open for all your banking needs and know that we have increased cleaning and sanitization efforts. However, we want to make you aware as conditions have continued to change, we are transitioning our locations that have drive-thru lanes to conduct most business through the drive-thru only effective March 20th, in order to protect both our customers and employees. We have based this decision on several factors, including the safety and health of our employees, and we will keep this plan in effect until we, and public officials, determine that health and safety risks have come back down to manageable levels.
Our dedication to world-class service has only increased. We also look to increase staffing and hours as needed at our drive-thru stations and remind customers that in addition to appointments, they can access banking services online, on their mobile device, by ATM, and by calling Customer Care at 1-855-863-2265. We will be flexible in scheduling appropriate meetings with your local lenders and bankers as needed and encourage you to reach out to them for your banking needs.
Social Distancing: We have asked customers that visit our branches to practice social distancing to protect them and us. We also have already asked most of our employees to work from their homes, and this week we are moving many more to work remotely. We have already dramatically limited or eliminated all in-person meetings, business travel, and conferences. We now turn our attention to helping our customers achieve the same.
Family Support and Health: We know we cannot provide world-class service unless our employee’s families are safe and healthy. In addition to education, we are currently providing paid leave for those that need it, and giving time to help our employees find suitable daycare for their children where appropriate.
Providing Financial Relief
Loan Assistance and Payment Forbearance: We are reviewing our lending relationships and are actively reaching out to those existing customers most in need to understand their situation better. While we always want new customers, our first commitment is to our current relationships, and we are managing our resources accordingly.
As we reach out, we are acutely aware of those businesses that have sustained a rapid reduction in cash flow. Therefore, we have re-opened our forbearance program for existing borrowers that may have difficulty making loan payments as a result of the disruption to their businesses due to COVID-19. Because our relationship managers are trusted financial advisors backed by local presidents, we can make quick decisions and deliver focused financial advice in cash flow management, marketing, communications, contingency planning, and strategy. If an existing customer needs additional assistance, we will work with you and available government programs to try to make that capital available as quickly as possible.
Protecting Our Communities
Charitable Giving: In the midst of this crisis, we do not want to forget to continue to outwardly show our investment in our communities. We are therefore increasing our donations to the communities we serve and have made grants and supply donations with an emphasis on personal protection equipment and disinfectants. These decisions are made at the local level by community presidents as they know their market best, and they are closest to the need.
Our management team has experienced multiple downturns, including the most recent great recession, and are preparing for an economic slowdown now. Given the fact that we have been in a record-long economic growth cycle, we have prepared for an economic slowdown and prepared our balance sheet to be more fortress-like by reducing credit risk, increasing liquidity, and bolstering capital. Now is the time to make these efforts pay off.
As dire as the news feels, the bright side is that disasters and crises bring out the best in us. Over the past week, we have heard many stories of our employees and customers banding together and helping others. From the healthcare and janitorial workers putting in 20-hour days, to neighbors helping neighbors, to the volunteers that are bringing groceries to people’s homes, we are comforted to realize that COVID-19 isn’t the only phenomenom spreading – so is love, kindness, strength and caring. I am proud of the effort the men and women of CenterState have put into this crisis so far, and if they are any indication of America-at-large, we will successfully meet this challenge.
This is a dynamic situation, so look for more updates shortly.
Until then, stay safe and take care,
Chief Executive Officer
A Message From Our CEO
- March 9, 2020
To our clients and friends:
Our highest priorities are the health and safety of our staff, our customers, and the well-being of the communities we serve. To that end, like many banks, we have activated our Pandemic Contingency Plan as a precautionary step in response to COVID-19. Our Plan follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities in the areas we serve. Invoking the plan ensures that we have the right level of resources and risk management devoted to your health and safety during this time of public health and economic stress. The goal of this effort is to make sure we have a dynamic and appropriate response to the risk caused from this virus. Unlike the common flu, there are enough unknowns that caution is warranted.
While not a comprehensive list, the Plan calls for:
- Increased cleaning and sanitization efforts in our public and private locations while reinforcing healthy habits for our staff;
- Keeping our products and services fully available to you;
- Supporting our customers and employees that are at-risk or have special needs;
- Monitoring the financial markets and discussing options for customers to meet their changing financial needs;
- Increased stakeholder communication and education;
- Limiting business-related employee air travel until further notice and using teleconference capabilities instead;
- Modifying, postponing or cancelling large meetings; and
- Enhanced risk monitoring and management.
We want to make sure you have access to all the financial services we offer regardless of how this virus progresses. While we do not anticipate any branch closures at this time, you can access your accounts and services without needing to visit a branch by using our online banking or mobile app, or by calling our Customer Care staff at 855-863-2265. If you have not done so, this is an excellent time to get access to each of these channels and to set up automated services such as direct deposit, bill pay, and others.
Here at CenterState, our core values of being locally responsive, keeping a long-term horizon, living our faith, loving our family, helping our customers meet their objectives, and providing world-class service have never been more critical. Our objectives are not only an exercise in limiting business disruption, but of leadership in a time of need. We are in this together, and if there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out to our local bankers.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
Chief Executive Officer