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Thanks to CASE Credit Union in Lansing, Mich., nearly 70 businesses can continue to pay employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The $303 million asset credit union secured $4.1 million in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding for 68 businesses, saving more than 800 jobs.
PPP is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) COVID-19 relief program.
“It’s is not only our business obligation but our moral obligation to give our struggling business members every opportunity to find stable footing in this time of uncertainty,” says Jeffrey Benson, president/CEO. “Our membership is the backbone to our organization, and we will always fight the good fight for them.”
‘The greatest benefit will be their peace of mind for the next two months.’
“Our business members now have funds to maintain and or re-hire staff that may have been laid off, and to help them make mortgage interest payments, pay rent, or pay utilities,” adds Laura Hosey, vice president of lending. “The greatest benefit will be their peace of mind for the next two months.”
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, business lending accounted for a significant portion of CASE’s loan portfolio at CASE, she says. Of the 68 businesses CASE has assisted, 55 were existing members and 13 are new business members.
When the second round of funding became available in late April, Hosey says CASE was prepared to act quickly and assist members with the application process. She says the process was more efficient as they had streamlined the application and approval process.
Most of the second round of applications were submitted and approved on Monday, April 27, within the first eight hours the funds were available.
Submitting applications through the SBA’s E-Tran portal was a challenge CASE encountered during the first round of funding. The portal was often overloaded and unavailable, but Hosey says credit union staff handled many applications that needed to be processed, approved internally, and submitted for SBA approval because they knew funding was limited and being allocated quickly.
While it’s unknown whether a third round of PPP funding will become available, Hosey says credit unions interested in the program should become familiar with the program’s rules and obtain necessary legal opinions.
She also notes participating credit unions should establish internal application processes and procedures, and gauge resources available to handle an increased, accelerated loan volume without sacrificing member service.
“By providing access to these invaluable relief funds, our business members have support that will help sustain their businesses and have a positive impact on our local economy,” Hosey says.