Recent data from a US Census small business pulse survey shows that almost 40 percent of small businesses in Rhode Island have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, local bankers have become a critically important source of help. And, in the process, they’re building and nurturing relationships with business owners in new ways. Here’s how:

• More frequent touchpoints.
Whether by phone, text or email, bankers can be checking in more often with business owners to see how you’re doing, what assistance you need and giving updates on services.

• Anytime service.
With so many working remotely, at all times, there’s no such thing as “business hours.” So if it’s most convenient for you to talk at 7:00 a.m., or text on a Sunday, that’s ok!

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• Relationship-driven business.
Seeing your home, kids and pets during online meetings has made business banking more personal and relationship-driven during COVID. Bankers truly feel vested in your success—and willing to go an extra step to ease your stress.

• Support for other business owners.
Some bankers can also assist other business owners you know. Through a referral, they may be able to assist your colleagues, partners and neighbors not only with a full range of business solutions, but also with the ability to act quickly . . . which can mean the difference between staying afloat or going under.

• Value-added resources.
Your banker can put you in touch with other business resources in the area, like the local Chamber of Commerce, which offers a wealth of information on everything from permits to legislation to the Small Business Association (SBA). For free.

In Rhode Island and beyond, bankers are proving they’re trusted business advisors, establishing and continuing relationships that could last long after the pandemic is over.

Learn more.

By Deb Viveiros, Vice President, Relationship Manager at Webster Bank. She can be reached at

The opinions and views in this article are those of the author, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All loans are subject to the normal credit approval process. SBA guaranteed products may also be subject to additional terms, conditions and fees. The Webster Symbol is a registered trademark in the U.S