Trade Groups Push to Prioritize Financial Services Workers in COVID Vaccinations

Jan 8, 2021Banks & Credit Unions, News

In a letter sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week, the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) called for credit union and other financial services employees to be prioritized in the first few rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations, because they have been identified by the CDC as “essential” employees.

“The health and safety of credit union staff and members remains the industry’s top priority as the COVID-19 pandemic endures,” the letter reads, according to American Banker. “We appreciate the designation of workers in the finance industry as ‘essential’ and want to ensure that all credit union employees are able to receive a vaccine as soon as possible so they may continue to protect the health and financial well-being of their members and communities.”

Other banks and trade groups have urged federal officials to include financial services employees in the first groups of vaccination recipients. This includes the American Bankers Association, which asked the CDC in December to include “front-line bank employees who come into contact with customers, such as tellers and loan officers” in the next group of vaccine recipients.

“Beyond the recommendations provided by [Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection] in the spring related to essential critical infrastructure workers in the financial services sector, we have not had any discussions with [the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency] or CDC about vaccine prioritization,” stated an administration official.

Alternatively, American Banker revealed that the Texas Department of State Health Services is in the process of finalizing placing bank workers in the “Phase 1b” group. “We expect to announce it soon,” a spokesperson of the department said.

If states decide to include financial services workers in an upcoming round of recipients, it is unknown whether loan officers will be included with tellers, which the industry has pressed for.

“Banks must remain open to meet the financial needs of our customers and society as a whole,” said Shon Myers, CEO of Farmers & Merchants Bank in Ohio.

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