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Michigan First Credit Union to prohibit opaque masks in some branches

Aug 23, 2021

2 hours ago 0 Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village, Michigan, USA, has informed its members that only see-through face coverings will be permitted in stand-alone branches from September, reports American Banker. This change of policy comes from security concerns and the lifting of Michigan’s mask mandate in June. “Our primary concern with members wearing masks is the overall security risk that face coverings pose,” said Michael Poulos, the credit union's president and CEO. This comes despite the American Bankers Association advocating for the continued use of masks in branches in July. Employees at affected branches will stop wearing masks on September 7, however, branches which are inside of retailers Kroger and Walmart will still have to abide by their mask rules. “We have asked our team members to lead by example by either not wearing masks or wearing clear face coverings in our traditional branches,” Poulos added. After signs regarding this new policy were placed in branch windows, it was met with some push back from credit union members, receiving feedback from about 200 of its 185,000 members. One member on Twitter stating, “Time to close my account with a bank STILL prohibiting mask usage of their customers.” Poulos responded: “As with any situation, some of the feedback has been negative, but we have also received support as well.”Poulos further commented: “It’s important that our team members and security cameras have a complete, continuous and unobstructed view of each individual conducting financial business with us to prevent physical and financial threats. Allowing masked individuals into a branch presents a security risk for any financial institution.” Poulos stated that they do not discuss security matters publicly, so it is unclear if this policy change has been influenced by an increased number of incidences or threats. The state of Michigan has been labelled a moderate rather than a high risk for Covid-19 by the CDC. However, the Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services is still stating that it is safer to wear a mask in high-risk settings, such as when unvaccinated individuals are present. “We know that wearing a mask is a proven, effective strategy in mitigating the spread of Covid-19. We recommend all eligible Michiganders get one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in addition to wearing masks in certain circumstances and social distancing,” said Lynn Sutfin, the department's public information officer. According to Poulos, branches provide state-of-the-art ventilation systems, have enough space for social distancing, and Plexiglass is in place. “This is a decision we have been working on for quite some time,” Poulos said. “We took time to test clear masks and determined they would meet our security needs. This is an unprecedented situation and we have done our best throughout to adapt to the ever-changing environment.” Lead Channel

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