On March 20, the LSCU held a town-hall style webinar for credit unions with more than 170 participants, covering topics from how to handle members visiting branches or drive thrus wearing masks to special programs being implemented to assist members in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The webinar was designed to be conversational, encouraging input from leaders of credit unions of all asset sizes who have boots on the ground during the pandemic.
“What I heard on this call and what I am seeing daily is nothing but unity and cooperation as we work to support each other and in turn, the members and communities we serve,” said LSCU CEO Patrick La Pine. “This is when the credit union movement is at its best. What we do now will define credit unions for years to come.”
LSCU President Jared Ross led the webinar, and credit union peers shared information verbally and through online chat. Jared explained the House passed HR 6201, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, and the LSCU will be interpreting how the Act will effect credit unions as it covers emergency paid sick leave and more. Signed by Trump on Wednesday, the Act is expected to be effective within 15 days.
Early in the call, a poll was conducted, with 90% of participants responding that they have modified the way they do business due to the COVID-19 crisis. When questioned about telecommuting, 54% said they already have some employees working remote.
Many credit unions are closing their lobbies and allowing members to come in on a case-by-case basis for such transactions as loans.
Credit unions are also putting in plans proactively to assist members who will face financial hardship, such as skip-a-pay on loans, offering “no questions asked” loans to existing members, giving pay-day alternative loans and waiving penalties and early withdrawal fees on CDs.
Jared explained the LSCU is in constant contact with all three state regulators and the NCUA, and the LSCU coronavirus resource page is constantly being updated with policies in the three-state footprint.
One of the most important messages credit unions are urging is for members to keep their money in the CU where it is insured. That message is being conveyed as widely as possible, and senators will be asked to encourage citizens to leave their money in financial institutions.
Jennifer Martin, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for the LSCU, spoke to participants about the LSCU resource page, including a statement for education and training events, explaining the LSCU has a business continuity plan to be sure the organization is available to credit unions.
A follow-up webinar is scheduled for March 25.