Sharing the love: CUs continue to help members amid pandemic

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As reported last week, credit unions have wasted no time rallying together in the adversity that currently is the coronavirus pandemic and helping their members and the community.

Credit unions around the state are helping members in a variety of ways. The Association has been collecting examples of how credit unions are helping their members and communities during the coronavirus pandemic through an online survey.

Below are some additional examples:

Hudson River Financial FCU

Thomas J. Powers, Jr., president/CEO of Hudson River Financial FCU, said that his credit union divided its 10-member staff into two teams, with each reporting to the credit union’s one office on alternating days so that employees can spread out and observe social distancing guidelines.

Powers said that he goes into the office every other day, leading the “A team” of five credit union employees, while the CFO leads the “B team.”

“Everybody has enough training so that each day they came in, they could run the credit union,” Powers said in a recent interview with CU Management. “They’re doing very well. Nobody’s gone down. Nobody has called in and said, ‘We don’t want to come in.’”

Powers said that the branch is closed to in-person transactions, and the majority of transactions are currently being handled online or over the phone.

But before closing the CUs doors to foot traffic, employees produced about 100 instant-issue debit cards for members, and the credit union continues to mail debit cards to members who request them.

And members who need cards quickly? An employee will don a face mask and gloves and meet the member in the parking to give them their card, Powers said.

 Greater Chautauqua FCU

Greater Chautauqua FCU is currently reversing fees and moving negative balances out of checking accounts to provide members with a “fresh start,” allowing members to make payments to the negative balance for up to eight weeks, said CEO Kelly J. Haaksma.

In addition to waiving early withdrawal penalties for share certificates in its Lucky Savers program, Greater Chautauqua FCU has also stopped charging members for more than eight ATM withdrawals per month, Haaksma said.

The credit union is also providing members low-interest rate emergency loans with no payment for 90 days and offering a loan skip-a-payment programs.

Haaksma said the credit union reached out to the local Joanne Fabrics to inquire about assisting with the cost of supplies for making homemade masks, but it was determined that there is a shortage of the supplies needed. “We will be reaching out to our local food banks and animal shelters. . . and we are getting ready for our Youth Month Celebration (virtual /home-style),” Haaksma said.

“A little different this year, but hopefully it will be something fun for our members to look forward to each day. We are giving them a month-long calendar with daily tracking of fitness and reading, and this year, we’ve added virtual tours of parks, monuments, zoos, etc.”

Corning Credit Union

Stephanie Carl, director of marketing and digital experience, outlined what Corning Credit Union is doing for its members during the crisis. She said that the credit union is:

  • offering 0% interest and no payments for three months, then 1.99% for up to 24 months;
  • offering three months skip-a-pay with no fees on eligible loans;
  • offering loan payment deferrals based on each member’s unique situation;
  • waiving Visa credit card late fees;
  • waiving early withdrawal penalties on certificates; and
  • waiving fee to use credit card or debit card to pay a loan by phone or online.

“We also looked at our mobile check deposit limits and increased them for members meeting specific criteria and also increased cash withdrawal limits at ATMs,” Carl said.

Share your CU story on the Association’s website.


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