Pub. 3 2021 Issue 1

6 | HOMETOWN BANKER | HOMETOWNBANKER.ORG BUILDING RESILIENCY FOR PERSONAL AND CORPORATE WELL-BEING By Diane M. Sweeney T he last year has been one for the records. The COVID-19 pandemic tossed every industry into a tailspin of one sort or another. All that we were sure of became uncertain in the shadow of the devastating virus. As we go to print, it is reassuring to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccination programs, though slow to start, have begun within our communities. With patience and resilience, we will move to the other side of this pandemic. Community banking is the foundation of resilience for the local towns, businesses, and people they support. Throughout 2020, community bankers proved their strength and resourcefulness yet again with administration and processing the tens of thousands of PPP loans provided through the CARES Act. Through unprecedented effort, Pennsylvania community bankers saved businesses, homes, and future savings for those facing extraordinary challenges. But community bankers did so much more. In many cases, the aid supplied by bankers for those in financial difficulty also helped to ease stress and help with mental wellness. Their work created hope for the people in their community. Bankers listened. They heard the stories. They showed they cared. Working and living differently have certainly brought upheaval to many, but it has also created an opportunity to look within - our companies, our culture, ourselves. Understanding who we are, why we do what we do, and how we can help others can be inspiring and life-changing. Across the Commonwealth, banks stepped up. Employee assistance programs were strengthened, and new resources were created for team members. IT Departments, the unsung heroes, worked endless hours to provide resources and training to help staff work from home. “Our HR and IT teams worked tirelessly to make employees and customers feel safe and heard,” shares Michelle McPeak, Training and Development Officer at Brentwood Bank in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. “Listening and counseling became our focus to calm nerves, help people learn new ways of doing their job or banking, and assure everyone our bank was secure.” Organizations that already had programs in place for employees saw an increase in their use. InFirst Bank, headquartered in Indiana, PA, had partnered with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to offer employees