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Arkansas State Bank Department

The mission of ASBD is to maintain a legal and regulatory structure for Arkansas's financial industry. This structure provides the public with convenient, safe and competitive banking, which fosters economic development within this State. Our mission is accomplished through efficient allocation of available human and other resources existing in our Examination, Information Technology and Administrative Services Divisions.

Coronavirus Contingency Plan

Mar 11th, 2020

DATE: March 11, 2020
 
TO: Chief Executive Officer
 
FROM: Candace Franks, Bank Commissioner
 
SUBJECT: Coronavirus Contingency Plans
 
The State Bank Department has closely followed recent updates and media reports regarding the spread and impact of Coronavirus-COVID-19.  We have been in communication with our federal regulatory partners and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and we have monitored the information released from Governor Hutchinson.  
 
I felt it was important to communicate to each of your institutions regarding our current response and confirm our commitment to assisting our banks.  If you have not already done so, we strongly encourage each bank to review and update, as necessary, your existing Business Continuity/Pandemic Plan. We suggest that you begin discussions regarding proposed plans and responsive actions in the event your banking operations, personnel, customer base or facilities are impacted due to the continued spread of Coronavirus.
 
If your management team concludes that a branch facility or market must be closed in response to staffing shortages, public health concerns, etc., you should promptly communicate the closure(s) via email to Deputy Commissioner Susannah Marshall at smarshall@banking.state.ar.us.  Your email should also include:
 
· Proposed changes in service (branch closing, lobby closing, change in hours of operation, etc.)
· Reason for change in service (staffing shortage, public health concern of community, etc.)
· Estimate for length of time the changes will be in place 
 
We suggest that the bank also provide the same communication to your federal regulator.
 
As with any unplanned change in operations, we strongly suggest that you maintain communication with both customers and employees.  Communications to customers should include:
 
· Website updates and branch posting notices with changes in hours of operation or limited services at specific locations 
· Promote utilization of ATMs, on-line banking applications, mobile banking services and telephonic and electronic mail customer service options
· Provide employees with advanced notice of changes in bank operations and details on how they may best continue to serve the customers and answer questions
 
With the likely increase in ATM and ITM utilization, we encourage bank management to plan accordingly for needs and requirements and supplies to operate these devices.
 
In addition, I would like to share the recent communications from the federal agencies regarding institutions’ preparedness and pandemic planning, as well as the agencies’ notice to institutions for supporting consumers during the Coronavirus Crisis.
 
https://www.ffiec.gov/press/pr030620.htm
 
https://www.csbs.org/federal-state-regulators-encourage-consumer-support-during-coronavirus-crisis  
 
Lastly, we will continue to monitor all sources of information and communication for both the banking and regulatory industries and make adjustments as warranted on the whole or on a case-by-case basis, if needed.  Currently, we have not modified our examination schedule; however, we will consult, in a timely manner, with your institution regarding upcoming examinations or visitations and coordinate our efforts as needed.
 
If you have any questions, or if we may be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or any Bank Department staff at 501-324-9019.
 
Sincerely,
Candace A. Franks
Bank Commissioner

 

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The Great Seal of Arkansas

The State Bank Department was created by Act 113 of 1913. The Department is charged with regulating commercial banks with main offices in Arkansas. These 76 banks hold assets of over $112.6 billion as of March 31, 2020. The Department also is charged with supervising the bank holding companies of Arkansas state-chartered banks; state-chartered trust companies; regional and county industrial development corporations; industrial loan institutions; and capital development companies. The Department operates to ensure the safety and soundness of, and public confidence in, these institutions and organizations.


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