4 ways empathy can show up in your COVID-19 response

These are turbulent, unprecedented times. It’s uncharted territory for all of us. One thing is certain though – amid the chaos, there is opportunity. We all have the opportunity – we have the responsibility – to step up and be there for our members. So many are facing income reduction or job loss, health concerns, and a myriad of other challenges.

Your members need you right now. Are you working to address the uncertainty and stress they’re feeling? Are you talking to your members about what they’re feeling and experiencing?

I suspect you are. Here are a few simple thoughts that may be helpful in your efforts…

  1. Find a way to learn more about what members are experiencing. Simpler is better. Maybe it’s as simple as an email or website pop-up that says, “We’re here for you. What’s going on? How can we help?”
  2. If you have the resources to do so, find a way to connect with members one-on-one. How would it make a member feel to get a phone call from their credit union asking how they’re doing? Cut through the isolation and make a personal connection if possible. A friendly voice can mean so much to someone who is struggling. And it can be a great way to learn details about what members are experiencing.
  3. Make sure your processes are as member-friendly as possible. A lot of financial service organizations are rolling out products meant to help. Fee waivers, deferred payments, and low-interest emergency loans are great options as long as members don’t have to jump through too many hoops to access them. Members who need relief are probably already stressed, and possibly emotionally spent. A long application process may feel more like friction than help. Try to make it easy for them.
  4. You can’t provide members with all the help they need. Look for trusted partners to assist members with needs that are out of your wheel house. This might include things like food assistance, financial counseling, unemployment resources, student loan assistance, or debt management programs.

Put your members first and connect them with the help they need. Let’s support each other and come out of this stronger than ever. Stay safe and well!

Rick Bialobrzeski

Rick Bialobrzeski

Rick is Executive Vice President at GreenPath Financial Wellness, where he has worked since 1996. More than 500 credit unions are partners in GreenPath’s effort to “remix the American ... Web: www.greenpath.org Details