Navigating the new norms
Helping clients respond to COVID-19 financial challenges.
The global health, social and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced individuals and businesses to rapidly change how they live and work. Many aspects of everyday life are challenged; no one really knows how much of the “new normal” measures of physical distancing and sheltering at home may carry forward into the future.
We are locked in a waiting game, trying to balance how we safeguard peoples’ health and safety with the pressure to start to reopen the economy to keep businesses and employment afloat.
Throughout recent weeks, BlueShore has been adapting and innovating to make sure we are helping clients deal with these stressful and disorienting times. This video message from our President and CEO, Chris Catliff, gives a quick overview of some of these actions:
Client relief programs
We continue to work with clients hardest hit financially by the impact of the virus on their employment, income and businesses. Key is ensuring that credit relief solutions for residential and commercial mortgages are flexible and personalized for individual needs. For some, this involves a shift to interest-only payments; for others, it’s deferring payments for three months with an option to extend three more, where necessary.
We’ve quickly put the technology in place to support access to much-needed government relief resources. With enhancements to our Online Banking, clients now can set up CRA direct deposit of government payment benefits like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and apply for small business loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
COVID-19 Resource Centre
A resource centre listing federal and provincial government relief programs for both personal assistance and businesses is updated regularly on BlueShore’s website to save you time and simplify your research.
BlueShore credit card account holders also have relief options through our credit card partner, Collabria Financial. These options range from deferral of “minimum payment due” and reduced interest rates for up to six months (approved three months at a time) to emergency credit limit increases for Canadians stranded outside Canada to help cover food, shelter, medical and travel expenses.
Operational changes to help flatten the curve
As conditions keep evolving, we’ve moved quickly to take steps to keep our clients, our employees and our communities as safe as possible. We’ve temporarily closed some branches and reduced hours of operation in the others. You can find branch hours on our website; check regularly for details.
To support those branch employees providing you with access to essential financial services, a series of new measures have been implemented. They run the gamut from ramped-up deep cleaning and plexiglass shields at teller stations to limiting the number of clients allowed into the branch at any given time to make physical distancing possible.
Our advisors are busy proactively contacting clients, checking in to see what questions or concerns you have about your financial plans – whether that’s how to manage right now or what effect the current situation might have on your longer term goals.
A number of the staff members from closed branches have been added to our Solution Centre team, to make sure that you experience only minimal wait times (if any!) when you call in. And remember, if you do think you need to visit a branch, please call us first. You may be surprised by how much we can take care of for you by phone.
Digital adoption ramps up
One byproduct of social isolation and sheltering at home has been clients’ adoption of new ways of interacting with BlueShore. Many of you have taken to Online Banking for your everyday banking needs – checking account balances, paying bills, transferring funds, and more. And for those who have not yet used Online Banking, the Solution Centre team can set you up and do a virtual demo or “walk thru” with any new user. We’re only a call away.
The significant resources invested over the last few years in our digital and online services have enabled new features such as Live Chat with our Solution Centre team members, the ability to deposit your cheques simply by taking a photo with your smartphone and the ability to set proactive alerts to help you manage your accounts and your cash flow.
While this is not how we ever envisioned they would be put to use, we’re grateful they are available for our clients when needed most. And we’re redoubling efforts to accelerate even more digital transformation within BlueShore, including expanded use of eSignatures on more of our mortgage and investment forms.
Staying focused on clients’ needs
These are challenging times that demand we continue to look for new ways to better serve clients’ financial needs. Dedicated employees across the BlueShore organization are adapting and adjusting to new working conditions and processes – all while keeping clients’ best interests first and foremost.
Our goal is to remain the trusted financial partner that our clients rely on for the long run. So as we all work together to navigate the “new norms” ushered in by this pandemic, be assured BlueShore is here to support you, your families and your businesses.