If COVID-19 “social distancing” programs are affecting your income, you’re not alone. An estimated 78% of U.S. workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck. While slowing the spread of the virus is intended to support our long-term health—both physical and financial—the short-term survival can be daunting, even with just one missed pay cycle.
Businesses rarely have the reserves to pay for both facilities and staff with a complete pause of income, and are strapped for options.
Enter local help from a local organization.
WECU is responding rapidly to its community’s needs and offering assistance for both individuals and businesses through two different Coronavirus relief programs.
Here’s how to find the help you may need, whether your ability to work—or to pay your workers—has been interrupted.
Crisis Relief Loans Available to Existing or New Members
Designed for those whose employment has been interrupted by COVID-19 or for those whose childcare needs have increased because of the virus, WECU is making available crisis relief personal loans of up to $5,000 with terms of 3.90% for up to 24 months and no payments for the first 90 days.
While it can benefit many, those with lower credit scores might benefit the most. As compared with WECU’s current rate for the same 24-month personal loan, which ranges from 5.99% to 18.69%, this offering comes in much lower at 3.90%. For those who are approved, there is no tiered rate. With this new offering, everyone gets the same interest rate. Furthermore, there is no prepayment penalty or loan fee, so with a speedy payoff, the overall cost of accessing the much-needed cash could be very low.
Other Relief Options
WECU is also offering to waive the $15 fee which is usually associated their Skip-a-Pay program. This means that any member who has a personal or auto loan through WECU can skip a payment at no cost.
WECU also offers a free financial counseling service through Money Management International.
Business Banking Emergency Relief Program
Beyond consumer-focused options, WECU is also offering a program targeted at relieving financial stress from local businesses.
The first option is a savings secured line of credit, which has 0% interest rate and loan amounts available up to $100,000 with no monthly payments required and a 12-month term. Secured against long-term savings, this is an interest-free way for businesses to cover an unexpected shortage—and then repay it when business picks up—without having to tap reserves.
“Cash flow and cash preservation are critical right now for Small Businesses,” says Bouma. “Giving them the flexibility to use these funds as the needs arise is the primary motivation.”
The second option is a line of credit of up to $50,000 that offers interest only payments after the first 90 days.
Help for Current Loan-Holders
Unlike the two line of credit programs that could serve any business wanting to become a WECU member, the third program is aimed at current business members with loans through the Credit Union—and offers up to three deferred payments.
“WECU is committed to supporting our members and the community we serve during this time of need,” says Bouma.
Individuals seeking crisis relief programs can visit www.wecu.com.
Featured photo courtesy of Whatcom Educational Credit Union