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Local bank prepares for COVID-19, market volatility

Gorham Savings Bank started preparing its employees in case a customer or staff member test positive for coronavirus

PORTLAND, Maine — Concerns over COVID-19 and its impact on the stock market the last few trading days, are bringing the financial experts back to the year 2008 and 2009. Gorham Savings Bank President and CEO Stephen deCastro says there are differences though. The novel coronavirus is the singular focus compared to broader global issues during the financial crisis.

"The market volatility is similar so the changes in the stock market and the bond market feel similar," said deCastro. "The lesson learned is to not panic. I think we've seen that from our customers. They are not pulling money left and right and doing anything irrationally. I think our population is fairly well trained for something like this."

The government and the federal reserve are taking cues from the recession and have already provided action, such as slashing interest rates, according to deCastro. He expects it to continue, possibly with other stimulus.

As for banks dealing with preparations for interactions between customers or employees with COVID-19, Gorham Savings is starting to look into situations where banking needs are done remotely through either video tellers or alternate channels.

Each bank is required to have a crisis action plan and pandemics are included in it, said deCastro.

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