Credit Unions (CUs) worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Despite the fact that CUs may already have business continuity plans, those may not fully address the fast-moving and unknown variables of an outbreak like the coronavirus. Whereas typical contingency plans ensure operational effectiveness following events like natural disasters, cyber incidents, and power outages, among others, they generally do not take into account the widespread quarantines, extended school closures, and added travel restrictions that may occur in the case of a health emergency. The economic impact and resulting trickle down effects of this virus has already begun to wreak havoc on the economy of small island states such as ours in the foreseeable future as a level of uncertainty still exists. Our heavy reliance on Tourism and the importation of goods sees a whole spectrum of persons across the board feeling the resulting effects of this virus.
At-risk members of society such as those who work in hospitality and other service industries, those working at the air and sea ports and members who are small and medium business owners could easily find themselves losing hours and struggling financially to meet monthly commitments. Those who do continue to find work may also face a higher risk for exposure to the virus. Job preservation is thus vital, and an immediate intervention by the CUs is recommended to inspire confidence levels. It is recommended that CUs assist in preserving the liquidity of the economy by assisting members in navigating any potential hardships in the months ahead.
The following waivers are recommended:
- Waivers/reduction on monthly service fees for both regular and small business members
- Waivers or reduction in penalties for early Certificate of Deposits (fixed deposits) withdrawal, for both regular and small business members
- Waiver/reduction of penalty interest for late loan payments
- Waiver/reduction of minimum balance fees on deposit accounts
- Waiver of application fees for any new loans up to May 30th 2020
- Loan moratorium on principal payments for existing loans for a period of 3 months (subject to an extension of six months).
Credit unions may offer members or small businesses wishing to have a deferred payment request on their vehicle loan or other loans call their local branch to discuss this possibility. This is an effort to relieve the pressure of making monthly repayments for the individual members who are more severely affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak, including but not limited to those in retail, food and beverage, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries.
Credit Unions are encouraged to continue monitoring the potential impact of the current situation on members to ensure that we can appropriately assess and assist persons in need of help. To minimize any health risks, please encourage members to conduct their daily banking via online solutions for credit unions offering such services and those that do not take the necessary precautionary measures. Where cash is absolutely necessary, make this available through the ATM network.
We encourage Credit Unions to utilize social media pages for ongoing updates on how members may safeguard themselves while managing their financial affairs.
See below current status of cases of CCCU affiliate members as at March 20, 2020 9 a.m. ECT. Over 250,000 cases worldwide with over 10,000 deaths.
|Affiliates||# of Cases||# of Deaths|
|Antigua & Barbuda||1|
|St. Kitts and Nevis|
|St. Vincent and The Grenadines||1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||9|
– Source: www.worldometers.com
Disclaimer: The Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions appeals to Credit Unions to employ strategies that will redound to the members’ benefit as we stand together to ease the burden of this pandemic. These are only recommendations and applicable to each Credit Union’s situation.
Carefully advise members of the Credit Union that Terms and conditions apply. Members are encouraged to continue making their monthly payments if they are in a position to do so.
Let’s make a difference in the lives of our members in 2020.