PremierOne CU Provides Member, Community Support Amid COVID-19 Crisis

PremierOne CU
PremierOne CU staff kept safe while serving members during COVID-19 crisis.

When the Coronavirus outbreak occurred, PremierOne CU responded swiftly by focusing efforts on supporting the community the San Jose-based credit union serves.

The credit union provided immediate financial aid by creating the “Member Financial Assistance Program.” Business hours were reduced, and to coincide with CDC guidelines, social distancing protocols were put into place at all branches. The credit union heavily promoted its online and electronic services as an alternative to in-person banking.

The Member Financial Assistance Program was created to help those facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit union developed a low-rate emergency loan up to $5,000, a hardship skip-a-payment option for qualified loans, and waived the fees for cash advances on its credit cards. PremierOne also participated in the Hardship Skip-a-Payment Program for 90 days on mortgages (CMFP), the California state initiative announced by Gov. Gavin Newson. 

“We recognized the financial impact the Coronavirus outbreak created, which affected many members within our community. Not only those who became ill, but also those who experienced a loss of income and families whose children are out of school,” said PremierOne CU VP of Marketing and Community Development Janice Johnson Lugo.

As a health and safety precaution, PremierOne CU canceled several in-person community events initially scheduled for spring and summer, however the credit union still found ways to support its community and local businesses. It donated to the Shop with a Cop Foundation, which partnered with Disney and ABC7. The donations will help purchase books for boxes designed for hourly wage-earners and families in need with kids under 12. The credit union also purchased and donated disposable protection masks and 15-piece hygiene kits to the LifeMoves Homeless Shelter. And it donated to an online fundraiser for the Almaden Valley Women’s Club, a community institution now struggling due to the pandemic.

PremierOne CU also served as a sponsor of EVERFI's National Financial Bee program, which provided 7th-10th graders with some fun and the chance to learn critical financial concepts from the comfort of home while social distancing. Three winners of the National Financial Bee will receive up to $10,000 in college scholarships.

To keep members informed, the credit union developed a dedicated page on its website for COVID-19 and CARES Act news. Members also received weekly updates via email concerning branch hours and service availability, as well as CARES Act updates. 

“Our top priority during this crisis was to take care of our employees and members first,” Johnson Lugo said. “Our mission is to 'Deliver a better financial life to members'. That means delivering financial products and service and showing compassion to our employees and members during uncertain times to help people remain on their feet.”

Weekly Update: CA and NV Credit Union COVID-19 Relief
According to weekly survey data collected by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues from late March to mid-May, credit unions in both states have accomplished the following for their members:

  • More than 525,000 members have been provided financial relief.
  • Over 521,400 extensions made on more than $14 billion in member loans.
  • Approximately $56 million provided in emergency loans to members.
  • More than 2.3 million fees waived for members.
  • $1.3 billion employee/business loans made via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department’s federal relief program.

While credit union data in both states is still being gathered every week, the Leagues' ongoing COVID-19 Impact Survey continues to track how credit unions are assisting consumers during the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic and which ones are participating in the SBA’s PPP funding efforts.

The data represents a great majority of credit unions in California and Nevada, but not all. The Leagues are encouraging credit unions at the beginning of each week to complete the survey by sending CEOs a link. The numbers continue helping the Leagues tell a powerful, compelling story about the impact credit unions are making in their communities.

WestStar CU Spotlighted in Wall Street Journal
In “What Happens When a Lender’s Borrowers All Lose Their Jobs at Once?”, the Wall Street Journal spotlights WestStar Credit Union’s response to members who are feeling the brunt of job losses in the Las Vegas region due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Attention is given to our movement’s member-owner structure, as well as what “common bond” credit unions like WestStar are experiencing during this challenging period.

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