‘Unprecedented time’ calls for aggressive initiatives

CU SoCal gives $1,000 to each employee, conducts wellness checks on elderly members.

March 23, 2020

Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) knows the country has never faced an event quite like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and it knows it needs to take aggressive steps in response.

To ease employees’ fears about financial hardship in the wake of the pandemic, the $1.7 billion asset credit union in Anaheim, Calif., is giving $1,000 to every employee, regardless of length of employment. Temporary workers will also receive the money.

“This is an unprecedented time that demands extraordinary action,” says Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU SoCal. “Disruptions from the coronavirus are causing financial strain for our employees and their families. We want to provide help early on to help ease some of these burdens.

“In my more than two decades with CU SoCal, we have not laid off a team member,” he continues. “We remain passionate about continuing that tradition. However, the spouses and adult children of some CU SoCal team members are beginning to experience reduction in work hours at their jobs, and it’s likely that some households will experience layoffs in the near future due to the dramatic decline in business activity.”

Dave Gunderson

‘This is an unprecedented time that demands extraordinary action.’

Dave Gunderson

CU SoCal’s paid sick leave criteria will mirror the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that Congress passed last week , which requires small businesses to provide limited paid-leave benefits to employees who are affected by the coronavirus emergency. The credit union will also allow employees to go negative up to 80 hours in personal time off (PTO) after exhausting their PTO balance.

The credit union is also looking out for members, offering several programs to mitigate the fallout from COVID-19, including:

  • Allowing members to skip payments on all consumer loans for 60 days.
  • Prequalifying eligible members from its Preferred Partner employer groups for a $1,500 signature loan with 9.99% APR with no credit check. Members can defer payments for 90 days.
  • Offering a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Loan up to $10,000 per household. The signature loan has a fixed rate of 3.25% APR for a term of up to five years and members can defer payments for 90 days.

CU SoCal also is looking out for members’ well-being outside of financial services.

Staff are contacting the credit union’s senior members for wellness checks and to see if they need assistance getting groceries and other household essentials.

“We’re grateful that we’re in a position to help ease financial burdens for our member households at a time when they need us the most,” says Michelle Hunter, CU SoCal’s chief communications and experience officer. “At a time of fear and uncertainty, we want our members to know that their concerns are our concerns, and we are here to support them and their families.”