The St. Maries Wells Fargo Branch has announced that it will reduce it's hours to only three days a week.

Wells Fargo Communications Advisor, Julie Fogerson, said that the reduction in hours is due to staffing constraints at the local branch.

“The St. Maries branch is currently operating with reduced hours due to staffing constraints,” Ms. Fogerson said in an email. “Customers can check Wells Fargo’s branch locator for ATM locations and the status of branches and can use mobile and online banking tools almost anywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The local branch has seen a reduction in operation since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March. The branch has mainly operated via drive-thru services with it's lobby remaining closed.

Ms. Fogerson did not disclose when the branch plans to re-open its lobby.

Other banks in the area have also been trying to function amid the restrictions regarding COVID-19.

St. Joe Valley Credit Union CEO, Gloria Rauch, said that business at the office has been gradually returning as new residents move to the area.

“We have seen an influx of new accounts being opened with us,” Ms. Rauch said. “There has been a lot of new people moving in.”

She said that the lobby is currently open and has been since May. The St. Joe Valley Credit Union is taking certain precautions in the lobby such as installing shields at each tellers station as well as implementing social distancing guidelines while in the lobby.

Ms. Rauch said that they are limiting the amount of customers in the lobby at the same time.

“We are doing our best to limit the amount of members in our lobby at one time to two people,” MS. Rauch said. “So far people have been very respectful.”

The Banner Bank St. Maries branch is going with a more hybrid approach as the drive-thru is fully open to customers and the lobby is reserved for appointments only.

Vice President of Communications, Kelly McPhee, said that the corporate offices hope to open the St. Maries branch soon.

“We want to re-open the St. Maries branch we just have to make sure all the indicators are there in terms of risk,” Ms. McPhee said. “We constantly review Benewah County's risk levels and watching from an employee and operational level.”

“Those who want to conduct business as usual still can,” Ms. McPhee said. “People can use the lobby as usual, they just need to let us know that they are coming before hand.”

Ms. McPhee said that Banner Bank has also tried to innovate during the pandemic, noting that members can use online applications to take care of their needs.

“We've gotten quite creative, anything you want to do there is access for it online,” Ms. McPhee said. “You can even sign for a mortgage loan digitally. We are going in the way of digital anyways. We are seeing more and more people take advantage of those tools.”

A spokesperson for P1FCU and U.S. Bank did not reply in time for publication though both banks remain operational.

P1FCU has re-opened its lobby and drive-thru banking is still available. U.S. Bank's lobby has remained closed at this time but drive-thru options are available. U.S. Bank is currently operating under reduced hours.

The regional manager for U.S. Bank, Maged Nashid, recently told U.S. Bank customers that they are currently looking to hire at the St. Maries branch in order to expand hours.

On the WestSide, Umpqua Bank branch manager, Tom Ebert, said that the local branch has been operating under its normal hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. He also said that the bank does have its lobby open, but customers are required to wear masks when in the building.

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