What Will You Remember?
Now that the world has somewhat opened back up, I remember back to a time during the midst of the stay-at-home orders when my wife and I made time for a “date”. I put it in quotes because what passed for a date those days was quite different. Our “date” was putting our little kids down, telling our older ones they had to stay in their rooms as we prepped Easter dinner together. Exciting, right?!? Part of our date was dreaming about what we would do when this pandemic had passed. She asked, “What is the thing you're going to do first?” For me, it was taking the kids to a playground at the local park and letting them run wild with their friends again. For her, it was to travel--literally anywhere other than home!
Over the past months, life and expectations surrounding it drastically changed. We went from record low unemployment to record highs. A society that hugs and shakes hands to one that stays six feet apart. We went from sitting crowded in favorite restaurants to standing six feet apart to get into the grocery store. We’ve replaced smiles with waves in public because masks cover our smiles. And, for Electro and other banking institutions, phone calls and the drive-up replaced our lobbies.
I’ve also found I've become very mindful of who I buy from since this has hit our way of life so harshly. “Buy Local” holds a new level of understanding for me as I watch and work with so many small businesses who are struggling. Additionally, those companies I never prioritized before but stepped up during the pandemic, now have me beelining to purchase from them. Disney, as an example, is a big winner for the Struble household after they released Frozen 2 and Onward early on Disney+. I won’t forget that when it comes time to decide whether to renew that service next year!
If you’re reading this and you use Electro for banking, I hope you feel the same way about us. Our mantra throughout this has been to, “Leave it all out on the field for our staff and St. Louis.” We made the firm decision we didn’t want to look back six months from now and wish we would have done more. In every aspect, we have moved away from the norm for our staff. Working from home, how we communicate, dress codes, free paid days off to de-stress, two weeks of “Pandemic Pay” to use however it is needed, flexible schedules, 0% loans to staff who need them, and more. The same goes for those in St. Louis who need banking services. Fee-free loan payment deferrals, 0% balance transfers, Comm(unity) Relief Loans up to $7,500 with payments that don’t start for 12 months, automatic payment deferrals on new loans, and more. We would have never discussed all of these measures until the pandemic hit, but when our community needed us, both our staff and board of directors fully embraced the actions.
As we come out of this, I will remember to bring my kids to the park. I will remember to prioritize travel when it's possible. I will remember to appreciate grocery store clerks, nurses, truck drivers, food service folks, and so many more. And, I will remember to buy local and show loyalty to those companies who stepped up for our communities and society. What will you remember?