When 17 to 20 inches of rain pounded Nashville during the first weekend of May, Michael Bittle knew staff of Vanderbilt University Employees’ Credit Union would have to hit the ground running the following Monday to help members.
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“We began hearing right away about members whose homes were flooded,” says Bittle, CEO of the $21 million asset institution. “Many of them lost everything. We wanted to be able to do what we could to help relieve the financial burden.”
The credit union implemented three loan products to help affected members:
• A People Helping People Flood Relief Fund offering interest-free loans up to $1,000, to be repaid with a monthly payroll deduction of $100 for 10 months;
• A one-month deferral of payments on all existing credit union loans; and
• An appliance loan of up to $5,000 for 24 months at 9.9% interest, designed to replace appliances lost in the flooding.
The credit union placed $250,000 in its People Helping People Flood Relief Fund. It awarded the loans on a first-come, first-served basis.
Applicants were required to provide proof of loss, such as an insurance claim or Federal Emergency Management Agency application.
As of June 1, Vanderbilt University Employees’ had made more than $50,000 in no-interest loans, 10 loan extensions, and three appliance loans.
“People are now moving from recovery mode to the rebuilding mode,” Bittle reports. “We’re seeing an increase daily in requests about loan extensions, appliance loans, and auto loans. People are now ready to move forward.”