Banks offering employees additional pay during pandemic

TCF, Fifth Third recognize the hazards of essential employees working with the public.
Fifth Third Bank employee Kandi Malmquist is one of those workers who must come to the office during the pandemic to complete their tasks. Courtesy Fifth Third Bank

TCF Bank and Fifth Third Bank are providing additional compensation to their essential workers as they work on the frontlines to assist customers.

TCF Bank has provided a temporary wage increase to more than 2,600 of its employees. The increase in wages is $3 for its hourly team members and a one-time bonus of $1,000 for salaried employees who can’t work from home, such as those working at the bank’s call centers and drive-thrus, among other places.

“Our intent is to take care of employees who are working on the front line at branches and offices where they can’t work from home either because of the nature of their positions or the fact that they have no ability to work from home,” said Tom Wennerberg, chief marketing and communications officer.

The bank has more than 500 branches in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado and Michigan. In Michigan, there are branches in Grand Rapids, Walker and Wyoming. Wennerberg said the payments started in April and will continue through the end of May, at which time the program will be re-evaluated.

“We want to definitely make sure on a state-by-state basis we are complying with the orders that the governors are issuing, but once those expire, we are going to start putting plans together to make changes to our locations,” he said. “Right now, a lot of our locations do not have lobby hours but drive-thrus are available. So, we are going to come up with plans to slowly reopen those banks on a case-by-case basis when the orders begin to expire.”

Fifth Third Bank is giving its employees who are providing essential banking services to its customers a special payment of up to $1,000.

Scott Stenstrom, regional marketing and communications director, said employees who conduct more than 50% of their work on-site have received two installments of $500 during the relevant pay period that is covered in April and May.

Frontline employees who work on-site less than 50% of the time have received two installments of $250 for the relevant pay period of April and May. Stenstrom said about 55% of Fifth Third’s employees have received special payments and approximately 73% of those who work in West Michigan have received payments, totaling slightly more than 1,600 employees.

“The special payments are consistent with actions we’ve taken in the past year that show how we value our employees,” he said. “Many of them, like our customers, are experiencing challenges during this crisis and when we take care of them, they will likely take care of our customers. This builds upon our legacy of strong benefits for our employees.”

Fifth Third Bank has more than 1,125 branches in 10 states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. There are 185 Fifth Third Bank locations in the state, including ones in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Jenison and Rockford, among other cities.

Stenstrom said last year the bank increased its minimum wage to up to $18 per hour, which followed another increase the previous year.

“We went from $15 to $18 and the reason why we did that is because we wanted to make sure we invested in our employees so they could create a better customer experience and improve employee engagement,” he said. “It is really smart, in a business sense, because it helped us reduce employee turnover and we did see some positive impact on turnover as a result of all of that. Fifth Third has made a concerted effort to have a strong set of benefits for the employees so that is really what it comes down to. It is a long string of investments we have made in our employees, not just this one.”

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