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Baker Boyer Bank has switched to online, drive-through and telephone banking as the Walla Walla institution reaches the final stage of its emergency response plan.

Starting Tuesday, lobbies and public spaces at all of the company’s branches were closed to the public, President and CEO Mark Kajita said.

The branches’ drive-through services will be among the primary connecting points. The company will also use online services, mobile apps and telephone for interactions.

For client meetings that require face-to-face interaction and typically run at least an hour, video chat technology will be used by advisors with their clients.

“It’s incredibly easy,” Kajita said.

He said clients receive a video link via email and simply click on it to connect.

“It kind of takes care of itself,” he said.

Although there have been no employee cases of confirmed COVID-19 infections, the measure is the latest move to maintain the health and safety of employees and the public, Kajita emphasized.

“What’s really important is that we have continuous service to our clients throughout this challenge,” he said.

Special arrangements can be made for clients who must have access to their safe deposit boxes or to sign paperwork.

The status will be in place until further notice.

Kajita emphasized the need for the public and employees to keep their social distance from each other and remain as healthy as possible.

“Although this is a trying time for many in our community, we are striving to make this transition with as little disruption as possible to our clients,” he said in a prepared statement. “I have seen over many years how our communities pull together for the health and safety of all, Baker Boyer is simply doing its part to ensure that our strong financial institution is continuously operating for every one of our clients.”

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 509-526-8321.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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