Credit Unions Step Up to Meet Members’ Needs in Trying Times
March 17, 2020
When times get tough, credit unions step up. As coronavirus makes its rounds globally and in the United States, Northwest credit unions are jumping in to provide steadfast support for their members and employees.
Thanks to advances in technology and credit unions’ commitment to providing convenient services, credit unions have virtual banking options, which means members can continue to manage their finances and banking needs. Members can pay bills, transfer funds, make loan payments, manage their credit cards, apply for lines of credit, deposit checks, and more — all from the comfort and safety of their homes.
“One of the things we’re really trying to do is let our members know that we are here for them and that they have the ability to continue to do services,” said Mina Worthington, President and CEO at Solarity Credit Union. “We don’t want them to worry about their money. So, we’re making sure that they understand they can do banking from home.”
Recognizing that members of their community inevitably suffer financial hardship in times like these, credit unions are offering special services such as emergency loans, skip-a-pay, loan modifications and consolidation, lower interest rates on credit cards, financial counseling and budgeting assistance, and more.
“It’s an emergent and unsettling time, and we know some of our members are feeling financial impacts already,” said Ann Flannigan, Vice President of Public Relations at WSECU. “We have a range of ways we can provide support to them through a difficult period. The most important thing is that they reach out to have that conversation.”
Credit unions are also prioritizing the health and safety of their staff members, taking several precautions, including regular location cleanings. Many credit unions are offering a remote work option as well as extra PTO and sick leave so staff can recover from illness or help take care of a sick family member. Where facilities must remain open to the public, credit unions are limiting outside contact for employees as much as possible through the use of drive-thru windows and ATMs.
“We’re working in two parallel streams right now: doing all we can to assure the health and safety of members and employees, and also doing the needed contingency planning so we can continue to provide member service and extra support for anyone struggling,” continued Flannigan. “Both are equally important. It’s at times like this people need their credit union, and we’ll be here for them.”
The Northwest Credit Union Association is committed to helping its member credit unions navigate this unprecedented situation, offering support in key areas, such as regulatory advocacy and compliance, communications and PR, human resources, and business solutions.
NWCUA has created a robust Coronavirus Preparation & Response Resources page containing information on special COVID-19 credit union meetings, updates for employers and employees, information from regulatory and health agencies, state and federal governments, health advisories, compliance recommendations, and public relations examples of credit union responses.
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Posted in Cooperative Development.