Homestreet Bank - Messaging Surrounding COVID-19
Homestreet's messaging related to COVID-19 has been scant in comparison to other banks. The posts on their social media accounts only tell customers that they are monitoring the situation and ask customers to be aware of scammers. However, their website has more information about what their employees and customers must do to stop the spread of the virus. There were no news items, interviews, or releases by upper management about COVID-19.
- Their messages were aimed mainly at their customers. When a customer visits the website, they will see a banner near the top of the page. The "Learn More" button links to a webpage that seems to have been built to inform customers during this crisis. The webpage is titled "Emergency Response".
- Their "Emergency Response" webpage is also aimed at employees and tells them what they should do to stop the spread of the virus.
- Based on searches through their news releases and other places on their website, as well as outside sources and social media, there have been no quotes or interviews from upper management about their response so far.
- Most of their messages have been sent by their social media teams and teams that are in charge of making content for their website. There was no signature or appended paragraph to detail that the message is coming from management or a specific department at the bank.
- On Twitter, Homestreet's first related to COVID-19 was on the 9th of March when they assured customers that they were monitoring the situation surrounding the virus. This tweet links to a webpage titled "Emergency Response".
- On the 18th, they sent out their second tweet warning customers that they should be careful about phishing emails claiming to be the WHO or the CDC. They gave tips that customers should verify email addresses and exercise caution when clicking links or attachments.
- In that tweet, Homestreet linked to the Secret Service's website that talks about this issue. This message was repeated on their Linkedin page and their Facebook page.
- On their "Emergency Response" webpage, they assured their customers that they are monitoring the situation closely and promised to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and other health agencies.
- Like their social media channels, they warned customers on their webpage about potential scams that they can fall into, telling them to visit the FTC website to stay informed.
- They are assuring customers that they can bank anywhere even if they are unable to visit a branch by using their website or their banking app.
- At the bottom of the page, they are assuring customers that if they are experiencing financial hardships during the pandemic, they can help them by calling their Loan Customers.
- HomeStreet Bank has made only two messages on Twitter. Both messages were aimed at their customers.
- On social media, most of their communications were found on their Twitter page. Only one message related to COVID-19 to customers was sent on their Facebook and Linkedin pages.
- Their website is the only other place where they have content related to COVID-19. The "Emergency Response" page is the only place on the website that customers can get information on Homestreet's response to COVID-19.
- They seem to have also sent emails related to the current crisis. According to a customer on Twitter, Homestreet emailed him on or before March 15 and its contents put his mind at ease. Two more tweets (in a thread) made on the 10th were found mentioning Homestreet's email.
Our search found messaging by Homestreet Bank on their website and their social media but we were unable to find any specific sender of these messages by the bank. To find messaging, we first started by searching through their website including their press releases. We found a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 and we expected to find an address either by upper management or a department to their employees or customers. However, their last press release on their website was on the 6th of March and a search of their website brings up no address by management or any quotes by a department about the crisis. Hence, we changed strategy.
In our next strategy, we looked for outside news sources for direct quotes from workers or management from Homestreet. We looked through sources such as Businesswire, Bloomberg, and Yahoo News, however recent stories about Homestreet only mentioned the CFO resigning his post and that a new hire was made the next day. We believed that there would be a news article discussing Homestreet's response to the crisis and would include a statement by a higher-up, however, this was not the case. After this, we tried another strategy.
In our last strategy, we looked through social media sites and video sites for recent videos featuring Homestreet and/or its workers. We hoped to find videos or statements by executives on business shows by CNBC, Bloomberg or the like. When no videos were found on YouTube, Vimeo or CNBC's or Bloomberg's websites, we looked through social media and found content on their Facebook and Twitter pages. However, the only tweets we found mentioning Homestreet and Coronavirus were by their account and by three alleged customers mentioning the email they received from Homestreet about the virus. No tweet or status update mentioned a statement by someone or a department at the company.
We believe that the messaging we found by the bank on their social media accounts and their website was made by internal social media teams and other teams in charge of digital communications. Usually, when an executive or a certain department puts out a statement, it would be followed by a signature or summary of who they are, followed by contact information, such as can be seen in this example.