Rural Bank customer perspective – What do I expect from my bank during the Pandemic?

rural banks in the Philippines serving clients

What do you do when you know there is a simple solution to your financial problems, but your bank is not able to provide it? This is the very same question I had to ask myself last May, after the Covid pandemic made it clear that the old way of doing business just wasn’t going to work anymore.

My name is Michael. I am 38 years old. I live on the northern side of Luzon island in The Philippines. I have a beautiful family. I have two small boys Daniel (7 years old) and Gabriel (5 years old). I’m a carpenter and have had my own small business making furniture and interior furnishings for the last 5 years. My business was going from strength to strength. I’d built a reputation as a good craftsman locally and was making a steady and regular income, but then everything changed.

When Covid hit my community in April, people were scared, they didn’t know what to do, and who to turn to for help. We all just stopped in our tracks and put our heads in the sand, hoping that this terrible virus would disappear by itself. But it didn’t. Weeks passed and my business was collapsing. Customers were not coming to my workshop anymore. I was lost and didn’t know where to turn and my bank wasn’t able to help me. The nearest branch was over 15 kilometres from my house and they weren’t able to provide me with clear information and support over the telephone.

Then, one day, everything changed. I was entering our local supermarket with the last few dollars I had, when I bumped into my friend from school. I hadn’t seen him for ages. He looked good. He had money to spend and he was relaxed.  He had succeeded in building a secure financial future in these uncertain times. He said something to me then, something that has had me thinking ever since. He said something that changed what I thought was important for ever…

He told me that I should run my business through the internet. He explained that I could find clients through social media, and that I should change my bank to one that offered mobile and online banking. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but in the end, I took the plunge. I didn’t regret it.

Look, I know how hard the decision to change your bank is, especially when the future is so unclear. Who knows what the situation will be in 6 months, let alone a year? But don’t let that uncertainty confuse you. Look at the fundamentals and make step by step decisions. Then, you will emerge from this Covid era stronger than you were before it. That’s what I did.

Ask yourself what you need from your bank in these difficult times. Do you want to know my top 10 list?