Tropical Financial closes branches again as coronavirus cases spike

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The spike in coronavirus cases has pushed one South Florida credit union to once again close all of its branch lobbies and restrict member access to only drive-thru windows and ATMs.

Rich Helber, president and CEO of Tropical Financial
Rich Helber, president and CEO of Tropical Financial

Effective Monday, Tropical Financial CU in Miramar, Fla., has shuttered four branches, which don’t have drive-thru facilities. The credit union has drive-thru branches in five different cities across the region. For members located in the communities where branches have been closed completely, including Plantation, Coral Springs, Kendall and Miramar, the credit union is directing visitors to other nearby facilities.

Like many other credit unions, Tropical Financial closed its doors in March as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, relying on drive-thru windows and ATMs, and restricting lobby access to appointment only. As stay-at-home orders began to lift in May, Tropical Financial and many others reopened their doors with additional protective measures in place. The current closure comes amid a sharp rise in cases across the country in recent weeks, though particularly in parts of the South and West.

“Considering the current climate in South Florida, we thought it was in the best interest of our members and employees to go back to drive-thru service only until we are confident it’s safe to resume normal branch operations,” President and CEO Richard Helber said in a press release Monday.

In May, Tropical Financial announced plans to spend $85,000 to help kick start the local economy by giving every employee a gift card that could be used at a South Florida business. Many other institutions also rolled out additional benefits for staff, including bonuses and hazard pay.

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