Oregon credit unions step up to distribute relief

A group of member-owned cooperatives and their league helped strapped residents and businesses through state programs.

When the Oregon state legislature provided emergency funding to help state residents save their businesses and feed their families, the state’s credit unions stepped up to help out. Twice.

First, four CDFI credit unions joined forces with a state program to provide grants to struggling businesses — especially those owned by women and minorities — that didn’t get Payroll Protection Program or other federal relief funds. In three rounds, those credit unions have provided nearly 400 grants averaging nearly $3,000. Another round continues through November.

“They have done and continue to do remarkable work,” says Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “This is a collaboration beyond those four credit unions, really, because other credit unions in Oregon are referring businesses owners who might qualify. A business owner doesn’t have to be a credit union member to apply, so it’s a shining example of the ‘people helping people’ philosophy.”

Then, on Aug. 19-21, eight cooperatives and two banks distributed relief checks for $500 each to approximately 70,000 residents whose lives and livelihood had been wracked by pandemic and wildfire.


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