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Money Matters Amidst a Pandemic

Digital banking has soared since the pandemic started, and many speculate this trend is here to stay

You’re holding in your hands one of my very favorites, the annual “Money, Investments and Insurance” issue. It’s somewhat of a “how-to” when it comes to tips and financial maneuvers for individuals and businesses alike. These are the issues that seem to remain month after month on coffee tables and boardroom counters.

This month’s cover story, “The Future of Banking,” focuses on COVID-19, and its impact on how we manage money. I understand why people don’t like shaking hands these days, but their aversion to cold, hard cash has been a bit more surprising. Cash seems to have lost its royal prominence these days, and mobile banking is the new king. Digital banking has soared since the pandemic started, and many speculate this trend is here to stay. Our regular contributor, Jean Saylor Doppenberg, has interviewed a number of local bankers to get their forecast; I suspect you’ll be surprised to hear what they have to say.

This issue also kicks off a special five-part series—The Pursuit of Sustainable Solutions, which you’ll find on page 36. Many businesses are taking steps to do business consciously and keep the North Bay thriving. In “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” Jessica Zimmer reports on how we can best prepare for public safety power shutoffs, and what some companies are doing to keep critical energy grids flowing to keep the most vulnerable customers safe. It’s the first of five important angles we’ll be exploring in the months ahead. This kind of important journalism has been underwritten by a handful of concerned businesses, and we’re thankful for their support!

Has your storefront or home been boarded up during the most recent riots? How many days did you—or are still going—without any business revenue due to the ongoing pandemic? A “force majeure” is a common clause in an insurance policy that frees an insurer from any obligation when an event is outside reasonable control. Its use is so infrequent that it’s easy to overlook when you’re reviewing your insurance policy, but it’s a powerful clause. Maybe it’s time to get an insurance checkup as we move closer to fire season, and what’s sure to be a tumultuous election season. In the meantime, check out the feature “Policy Pitfalls,” by Bonnie Durrance, who has written an educational, in-depth piece, targeted for smaller business owners.

Remember those in need

Amidst this year’s upheaval, the most vulnerable in our communities have suffered greatly. Those living in skilled nursing facilities have often proven too health-compromised to fight against the devastation brought by the coronavirus. Throughout the North Bay, the death tolls within this small percentage of our population (less than 1 percent) equates to as much as 80 percent of the deaths. Please keep these folks and those who work so hard to protect them in your prayers.

Charitable giving is also taking a hit during these challenging times. Hundreds of worthwhile nonprofits in the North Bay have suffered from a devastating one-two punch. As homelessness, hunger and isolation have skyrocketed since March, the funding sources nonprofits rely on to remedy these issues have simultaneously dried up. As fundraising events continue to be cancelled, please dig deep and make an extra contribution to your favorite charity.

There’s always more to accomplish, but we aim to do our share to help those in need. In conjunction with our radio station partners, NorthBay biz promoted and oversaw a very successful RadioThon for several important children’s charities in July. I’m so thankful to our employees, volunteers and the hundreds of concerned donors who made this possible. Together, we raised more than $650,000 for Sonoma County Cares. (Check out the photos in Biz Scene on page 76.) The phrase “essential worker” doesn’t even begin to characterize the magnificent and worthwhile efforts of my teammates! If you’d like to learn more or donate, please, visit SonomaCountyCares.com.

As always, keep in touch. You can reach me at Lawrence@NorthBaybiz.com.


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