Credit unions continue to operate, offer assistance for members impacted by pandemic
Consumers reminded deposits are federally insured and to remain vigilant against COVID-19-related scams
COLUMBIA, MD (March 23, 2020) — Along with maintaining public confidence in the financial system by ensuring essential services continue to be available, credit unions are offering assistance to members experiencing financial hardship connected to COVID-19. The MD|DC Credit Union Association represents 140 credit unions in Maryland and Washington, D.C. region and the over 2.2 million consumers they serve, many of whom are experiencing an unprecedented level of disruption to their lives.
Financial Assistance Programs
Credit unions are extending low- and no-interest loans, offering fee-free loan deferrals, and finding other individualized solutions to help ensure consumers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 have the resources they need.
“We’ve provided guidance to our lending and collections areas that they need to be listening for members who have been financially impacted by the pandemic,” said Jim Whipp, president/CEO of Catsonville, Maryland.-based Five Star Federal Credit Union. “This may include offering no cost skip-a-payments, waiving fees, or re-writing a loan with new more flexible or affordable terms. We’re focused on getting our members through this.”
In an effort to minimize risk and continue service to consumers, some credit unions are modifying hours and/or adopting reasonable, precautionary measures to reduce the amount of face-to-face interactions. These precautions enable credit unions to remain in compliance with local, state and federal directives, including practicing social distancing, while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. For credit unions that have closed their branches, many are offering service by appointment, and continue to operate drive-thrus and ATMs. Consumers are encouraged to use mobile and online banking options from the comfort of their homes.
“Credit unions are stepping up to help consumers as they did during government shutdowns, natural disasters, and the 2008 financial crisis,” said MD|DC Credit Union Association President/CEO John Bratsakis. “Providing accessibility and maintaining a high-level of confidence in the financial system is a top priority for credit unions, along with protecting the health and safety of credit union staff and the consumers they serve.”
Consumers are encouraged to regularly check their credit union’s website or call to find out about any operational modifications. For a list of credit unions serving the Maryland and Washington region, with links to their websites, click here.
Financial concerns during uncertain times may prompt consumers to make larger than normal cash withdrawals, which could potentially can put them at risk of loss or theft. All deposits at federally insured credit unions are protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) up to at least $250,000 per depositor per account. For more information visit: National Credit Union Administration.
Credit unions are reminding consumers to remain vigilant against COVID-19-related scams. Federal officials warn that there has been an uptick in emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Consumers should also be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19. The Federal Trade Commission recently released tips for avoiding these scams.
About MD|DC Credit Union Association
The MD|DC Credit Union Association is a trade association representing credit unions in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region and the 2.2 members/consumers they serve. Credit unions are member-owned, democratically controlled financial cooperatives. Visit our website: mddccua.org.