Pandemic Continues To Create Significant Challenges For Banks


Banks continue to grapple with the issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and many are preparing to increase reserves and restructure troubled debt, according to the third quarter survey of top executives at more than 500 banks conducted by IntraFi NetworkSM (formerly Promontory Interfinancial Network).

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About two-thirds of bankers say that economic conditions have worsened over the past twelve months and just over a quarter think it will improve over the same period going forward. More than a third say they expect the economy will continue to decline over the next year.

“The survey shows the continuing struggles that many bankers face as a result of the pandemic,” said Mark Jacobsen, CEO and Cofounder of IntraFi Network. “The majority are still downbeat about the state of the economy.”

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Bankers are readying steps for when loan forbearance periods related to COVID-19 expire. Slightly more than two-thirds expect to build reserves and a similar number predict a need for troubled debt restructurings. Only 11% project a need for increased capital. Finally, 37% say that credit reserve building as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19 would likely peak in the first half of 2021.

Ninety-eight percent indicate that monthly foot traffic at their branches has dropped in comparison to pre-COVID-19 levels, while 97% report increased visits to their mobile app. Despite the almost universal decline in branch traffic, only 7% indicate their institutions plan to reduce the number of branches following the pandemic.

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