Idaho Central Credit Union Helps Keep Local Teriyaki Restaurant Open Amid Lockdown


To many, the word “community” means more than just a group of people living and working in a shared area; it’s a collective identity. Whether it’s that small-town feel, the local fair on a summer night, a favorite restaurant, or the familiar faces of friends and family, this sense of community shapes people in many ways.

When COVID-19 turned lives and business upside down, the importance of community took center stage.

Idaho Central Credit Union has served its 390,000 members, and the community, for more than 80 years. Through all the unknowns of 2020, including stay-at-home orders, business closures, and job loss, ICCU knew Idahoans needed help more than ever.

Keith Arruda, owner of Eagle-based Asian fusion restaurant, Happy Teriyaki, was grateful to receive that help.

Arruda and his wife purchased the business in 2018 and spent the next year getting things into shape. They were confident and ready to tackle 2020, but then their world turned upside down.

“Once the news started telling people to stay home and avoid restaurants, we went from having a line out the door every day to absolutely nothing,” Arruda said.

He worried most about his employees, but after two weeks had to send them home. Watching his savings quickly disappear, Arruda began to wonder how he’d pay his bills.

A friend from church suggested Arruda contact ICCU to discuss a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Soon after, he submitted an application and was pleasantly surprised at how quick the process was.

“It was a godsend. Within a week, we were funded, and I was able to bring back all of my staff,” said Arruda.

Since the start of pandemic, ICCU has funded 4,195 loans totaling over $165 million, waived $20,427.21 in fees, and contributed more than 10,000 hours of volunteerism.

“Providing business owners an opportunity to offset hardship costs while helping them make payroll and keep their doors open is really important,” said Lance Hatzenbeller, ICCU’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Services. “It’s a way to keep our community open.”

Hatzenbeller emphasized that all loan applications are considered regardless of the amount needed, whether it’s a few hundred dollars or several hundred thousand dollars.

“All loans are relative to scale, and at ICCU we don’t turn away any dollar amount. We just try to help as many people and businesses as we can in order to keep doors open and businesses operating.”

Arruda said he misses having conversations with strangers and watching customers laugh, celebrate, and enjoy their food, but he’s confident they will return.

What keeps him going? ICCU, his staff, and the community support he’s received, to which he simply says, “Thank you.” 

Posted in Economic Empowerment.