Salute to all employees of community banks and credit unions for their role in response to COVID-19 pandemic
During this pandemic, there are many professionals who are identified as front-line workers, but there are many unsung heroes. This goes out to one particular group of those unsung heroes – the employees of community banks and credit unions, who help individuals as well as small businesses stay afloat during this time of need.
I surveyed some of our clients, which are community banks and credit unions, spread throughout urban and rural communities across the nation, servicing very diverse segments of the consumers. I am amazed at how well prepared these financial institutions are, and how efficiently they are servicing their consumer bases during this pandemic.
Here are some of the highlights of what I’ve learned:
Easy information access – All financial institutions have created great landing pages on their websites, bringing information about all things related to COVID-19 and the CARES act and presenting it in an easy, well-organized manner. This makes it very easy for individuals or businesses to find available services as well as related forms and processes that they may require.
Payroll Protection Plan – Many of the clients surveyed already have had plans ready to help business customers apply for PPP loans. They have already processed an average of 250 applications, allocating an average of $50 million in these loans during the first round. They are ready with the streamlined processes to book these loans, and they have made the processes user-friendly.
Loan forbearance requests – These requests include - but are not limited to - deferring payments, waiving late fees, changes in reporting to credit bureaus, and the modification of auto transfers. I observed that many clients had countless well-organized processes in place to service consumers with such requests.
Other fee waiver programs – Many financial institutions are waiving NSF fees, foreign ATM fees/surcharges, and monthly maintenance fees, if any, to help their consumer base.
Continuous service of their communities – All of the financial institutions surveyed had programs to offer services while protecting their employees’ well-being. Certain financial institutions have kept a few branches open for limited services, while keeping drive-thru services open as normal.
So again, a huge thank you to these unsung heroes, the employees of community banks and credit unions. We appreciate your everyday efforts to keep the U.S. economy strong.