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COVID-19 Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

UPDATED: August 25, 2020

Branch Access and Services

What is ESL’s schedule for restoring in-branch services?

These dates are subject to change based on recommendations from Local and State governments.

Monday, June 29:

  • The following lobby services will be added to our by appointment-only services:
    • Personal member account openings
    • Business member account openings
  • For any in-person meeting, customers must:
    • Wear a mask
    • Maintain social distancing and follow hygiene protocols
    • Abide by New York State requirements
  • Expanded services will still be offered in all drive-ups. Click here for more details.

Monday, July 13:

  • We will begin providing all in-branch teller services.
  • We will limit the number of customers that can be in a branch at one time.
  • To enable this and help ensure the safety of all, a branch representative will be at the door of each branch to manage the overall amount of customers allowed into the branch.
  • For any in-person meeting, customers must:
    • Wear a mask
    • Maintain social distancing and follow hygiene protocols
    • Abide by New York State requirements
  • Expanded services will still be offered in all drive-ups. Click here for more details.

Monday, July 27:

ALL services will be made available in the branch.

We will begin to provide in-branch platform access to customers (both appointments and walk-ins).

Monday, August 10:

On Monday, August 10, we will no longer take in-branch appointments, and will provide in branch services on a first-come, first-served basis. As mentioned above:

  • We will continue to limit the number of customers that can be in the branch at one time.
  • A branch representative will be at the door to manage the overall amount of customers allowed into the branch.
  • For any in-person meeting, customers must:
    • Wear a mask
    • Maintain social distancing and follow hygiene protocols
    • Abide by New York State requirements
  • Expanded services will still be offered in all drive-ups. Click here for more details.

When will the State Street Branch reopen?

State Street is open, for all services. Access to our State Street Branch will be available via the front door only. ADA access is available. There will be a sign on the door instructing customers needing ADA access to call the branch.

If my child is with me or if I’m assisting an elderly parent/person, do we all need to wear masks?

All individuals entering a branch must adhere to our safety an social distancing protocols; and therefore, they need to wear a mask and abide the social distancing guidelines.

If my child enters the branch with me, are they included in the total number of individuals in the branch?

Yes, all individuals in the branch count toward the maximum individuals allowed in the branch at one time, even children.

I don’t have a mask. Can you provide one to me so I can come into the branch?

If the branch has disposable masks available, they can give one to you. However, we cannot guarantee that all branches have masks available so we strongly encourage that you provide your own mask.

What if I am medically exempt from wearing a mask, can I still come into a branch?

If you have a medical condition that does not allow you to wear a face covering or mask, we will allow you to enter the branch. If you are unable to wear a mask, we encourage you to take care of your banking needs over the phone. If this option is convenient for you, please call 336.1000 and an ESL representative can assist you.

What services are available at your branches?

Effective Monday, August 10, our branches will be open for all services, we will no longer take in-branch appointments, and will provide in branch services on a first-come, first-served basis.

SBA Loans and CARES Act (Stimulus Bill)

How can I apply for the small business loans available in the CARES Act (stimulus bill)?

ESL will begin to accept the required application information for this program on Friday, April 3. Once additional information is shared by the SBA, we will process the application and follow-up with customers as soon as we’re able.

Business customers who work with an ESL Branch or Contact Center Representative, please call us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265.

Business customers who work with members of the ESL Business and/or Commercial Banking teams, please call your ESL Relationship Manager directly.

Loan Payment Deferments

How do I sign up for credit card deferment/forbearance options?

Please call Cardmember Services at 1.866.820.6039 to initiate this request.

Will my credit card payments be automatically deferred?

No. You must contact Cardmember Services to defer your minimum credit card payment. Please note: You can defer your minimum credit card payment for 90 days, and you must call Cardmember Services at 1.866.820.6039 every 30 days to extend your deferment. You can use receipt of your next statement as a reminder to call Cardmember Services to defer your next payment.

How do I sign up for loan deferment/forbearance options?

Please contact ESL to initiate the request. Call us at 585.336.1125 or 800.842.4402

Do I need to provide any proof of hardship?

No, we will process the deferment per your request.

Will my loan payments be automatically deferred?

No. You must contact us and we’ll work with you on the best possible solution for your individual situation.

How long will my loan payment be deferred?

  • For Personal, Auto, Motorcycle, and RV Loans – 90 days of no principal and interest payments with loan term extended
  • For Personal Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, and Home Equity Lines of Credit – 180 days forbearance of principal and interest (with the option after of an additional 180 day period)
  • For Personal & Business Credit Cards – 90 days of no minimum payment due
  • For Business & Commercial Loans – 90 days immediate payment relief

What if I need more than the offered deferment/forbearance?

Please contact us at 585.336.1125 or 800.842.4402 and we will work with you directly to figure out the best possible solution.

What is the difference between not having to pay principal and interest and forbearance of principal and interest?

There is no difference between not having to pay principal and interest and forbearance of principal and interest. The difference between the two is the terminology based on product. The acceptable term is forbearance for real estate secured products, while other consumer and business loan products do not have specific language for this type of payment relief.

Will deferment/forbearance of payments impact my credit report?

No. For all loans—real estate, credit card, personal, and business—you will not be charged late fees and there will be no impact to your credit report as a result of the forbearance or payment relief.

What if I decide to make a payment while the loan is in deferment?

Payments can be made during the loan deferment and will be applied to your next payment due.

Will the loan still accrue interest while my payments are deferred?

Yes. ESL will continue to charge interest on your loan during the deferment period.

How long will it take ESL to process my deferment?

It will take 3-5 business days to process your deferment.

Fee Refunds and Hardships

What can I do if I incur a fee?

Effective Saturday, March 21, 2020, and until Friday, June 12, we will not be charging the following fees to Personal and Business customers. After that date, if you are experiencing financial hardships and are charged any of the referenced fees please contact us directly at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s):

  • Overdraft/Insufficient Funds Fee
  • Overdraft/Uncollected Funds Fee
  • Returned Check Fee
  • CheckOK (Overdraft from Savings) Fee
  • Courtesy Pay Overdraft Fees (include point-of-sale)
  • Average Balance Fee (applies to Personal Premier Checking, Personal Premier Money Maker, Personal Tiered Savings, and Business Money Maker)
  • Credit Card Returned Check Fee
  • Late fees on ESL loans

We understand many may be experiencing financial hardships throughout the community. If you are charged a fee and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s).

Why is ESL no longer making these fee waivers automatic?

ESL will be offering automatic fee waivers until June 12, 2020, at which point the fee waivers will be available via the member’s request. We understand many may be experiencing financial hardships throughout the community. If you are charged a fee and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s).

Which fees will no longer be automatically waived starting on June 12, 2020?

The following fee waivers will no longer be occurring automatically starting on June 12, 2020:

  • Overdraft/Insufficient Funds Fee
  • Overdraft/Uncollected Funds Fee
  • Returned Check Fee
  • CheckOK (Overdraft from Savings) Fee
  • Courtesy Pay Overdraft Fees (include point-of-sale)
  • Average Balance Fee (applies to Personal Premier Checking, Personal Premier Money Maker, Personal Tiered Savings, and Business Money Maker)
  • Credit Card Returned Check Fee
  • Late fees on ESL loans

We understand many may still be experiencing financial hardships throughout the community. If you are charged a fee and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s).

What if I am charged a fee but am still experiencing financial hardship?

We understand many may still be experiencing financial hardships throughout the community. If you are charged a fee and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s).

Is ESL ending its financial hardship offerings such as loan payment deferments and mortgage forbearance?

Financial hardship offerings can be requested through September 30, 2020. The full list of financial hardship offerings includes:

Personal, Auto, Motorcycle, and RV Loan Customers:

  • 90 days of no principal and interest payments with loan term extended
  • No negative impact to credit report

Personal Mortgage, Home Equity Loan, and Home Equity Line of Credit Customers:

  • 180 days forbearance of principal and interest
  • No negative impact to credit report

Personal & Business Credit Card Customers:

  • 90 days of no minimum payment due
  • No negative impact to credit report

Business & Commercial Loan Customers:

  • 90 days immediate payment relief
  • Resources available to assist with SBA programs
  • No negative impact to credit report
  • If you have a Relationship Manager for your account, please contact them for specific account questions
  • If you do not have a Relationship Manager, please call us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265.

For questions and requests related to financial hardships with your mortgage, home equity, home equity line of credit, or personal loans please contact our Loan Payment Solutions Team at 585.336.1125 or 800.842.4402.

For business loans, please call us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265.

For questions and requests related to Personal and Business Credit Cards, please contact Cardmember Services at 1.866.820.6039.

What happens if the Finger Lakes region has to close down businesses again because of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus?

We continuously evaluate the need to provide particular financial hardship offerings to our customers. As the situation changes, we will determine the need to either add or remove certain financial hardship offerings to our customers.

What if I have made my six-transfers-per-month from my savings account?

Effective Saturday, March 21, 2020 and until further notice, we will waive the Regulation D monthly limit of six transfers from a savings account. As we approach May 15 we will evaluate the need to extend these offerings longer.

Will I be charged any fees at non-ESL ATMs?

From Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, June 12, we will not charge members a fee for using non-ESL ATMs, and will reimburse the fee charged by the ATM owner. Our 40+ ATMs can be used to deposit checks, withdraw cash, and transfer money. On June 12, we will resume charging fees for the use of a non-ESL ATM and will not reimburse any fees charged by the ATM owner.

We understand many may be experiencing financial hardships throughout the community. If you are charged a fee and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or 800.848.2265 and we will rebate your fee(s).

ESL’s Actions and Responses to COVID-19 Coronavirus

What prompted ESL to take these measures?

The health and well-being of our employees and members is of the utmost importance to us. We are instituting these measures in an effort to mitigate the risk exposed to our employees and the community.

We believe these measures are necessary precautions that ensure ESL will be prepared and organized to continue our normal business operations in the event that the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes present in our community.

Have any ESL employees been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus?

We can confirm that no ESL employees have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus. If this situation were to change, we would communicate with the proper health agencies on the matter.

Cleaning & Hygiene

Will ESL be implementing new rules and guidelines regarding the safety of customers in branches?

Yes. Here is a look at some of the changes you can expect as we work toward our "new normal" in all ESL branches:

  • A branch representative at the door monitoring traffic and the amount of customers allowed in as space and social distancing permit
  • Masks must be worn by all employees and customers
  • New traffic patterns (one-way) for each branch
  • Sneeze guards and glass dividers at teller windows
  • Hand sanitizer stands and wall units
  • No coffee stations for customers
  • No waiting-area furniture
  • No access to the Online Banking kiosk
  • Only one person at a time at the check-writing table, with a queuing line
  • Expanded services continuing in our drive-up lanes
  • State Street will reopen, for both teller traffic and appointments on Monday, July 13th. Access to our State Street Branch will be available via the front door only. ADA access is available. There will be a sign on the door instructing customers needing ADA access to call the branch.
  • If you need to meet with a Relationship Banker who is busy with another customer, a branch representative will take your phone number and ask you to wait in your car or outside until called.

Do I have to wear a mask when going into an ESL branch?

Yes. You will not be allowed in an ESL branch without a mask or face covering.

How many people will be allowed in a branch at one time?

The will be different among all of our branches, and will be dependent on how many ESL employees are staffing the branch on a given day.

A branch representative will be at the door to manage the amount of customers allowed into the branch. If you need to wait, the branch representative will take your cell phone number and call when it is your turn to enter the branch.

What is ESL doing in its branches and offices to keep the environment disinfected?

All ESL branches and our headquarters are cleaned daily. We ensure that all service areas members may come in contact with, including our lavatories, are disinfected with hospital-grade cleaning solution on a daily basis. We will also have hand sanitizer and tissues available in all of our branches and offices for member use.