Credit unions offering essential hardship programs during crisis

As with many industries, the global pandemic, COVID-19, has significantly changed how credit unions go about day-to-day operations, forcing credit union leaders to figure out how to maintain high-quality service to members while keeping members and employees safe. Credit unions are offering financial hardship programs to help their members weather these unprecedented circumstances.

The following is a list of hardship programs that many Michigan credit unions are offering their communities:

- Low-interest loans (often for up to 12 or 24 months)

- 90-day deferments on loan payments

- Refinancing options on mortgages

- Waived fees for early CD withdrawals, overdrafts, phone payments

- Fee waivers on checking account overdraft fees

- Skip-a-Pay programs on auto and home loans and credit cards

- Mortgage and home equity payment relief

- Emergency hardship loans

- Increased credit limits

- Extended due dates on collections

In the aggregate, Michigan credit unions have as much as $150 million available for emergency hardship loans, although terms and conditions vary widely from credit union to credit union as each adapt to the unique needs of their members from region to region.

These special crisis-era offers are complimented by other services, such as extended drive thru and call center hours and a wide array of remote and mobile solutions. Some are also sending members routine communications on financial guidance, updated policies, procedures and programs, as well as creative solutions for non-banking concerns, such as work-from-home tips.

"Credit unions across America are offering their more than 110 million consumer and small business members an extraordinary helping hand," said MCUL President/CEO Dave Adams. "All deposits are federally insured in Michigan credit unions and more importantly, Michigan's 5.5 million members are gaining access to emergency loans, waived fees, deferred loan payments and great financial counseling. Extraordinary economic times require these measures and credit unions are stepping up."

Additionally, MCUL partnered with Michigan-based ad agency, DP+, and CU Solutions Group's CUBE TV Studios to create credit union-focused advertisements featuring renowned author and broadcaster Mitch Albom. The series of ads reinforce credit unions' not-for-profit, people-first service mantra by noting the availability of these special financial hardship programs, in addition to reassuring members that their savings are safe, secure and federally insured. The ads drive viewers and listeners to CULinkMichigan.com to encourage members to contact their credit union for support or to join a credit union if they are not yet members.

Published: Mon, Mar 30, 2020

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