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Alabama credit unions provide financial aid for members during COVID-19 pandemic

(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Credit Union Association announced that credit unions in Alabama have continued to work to help members through the financial realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACUA is the division of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates representing Alabama credit unions. ACUA has surveyed credit unions in the state three times since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. ACUA is using the results to quantify the ways in which the state’s credit unions have helped consumers through this uncertain time.

Thirty percent of Alabama credit unions responded to ACUA’s surveys. The ACUA reports that the surveys yielded impressive findings.

“The credit unions in our tri-state area have worked tirelessly to support members during a pandemic that has lasted longer and affected people more deeply than expected,” said President of LSCU Jared Ross. “For the better part of half a year, these institutions have continuously stepped up to help members who are grappling with income loss, unexpected healthcare costs and other financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. These are difficult times – and at LSCU, we’re proud to show that our member credit unions have met this difficulty head-on with integrity and compassion.”

The ACUA’s COVID-19 member engagement surveys found that:

  • Credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 679 mortgage loan forbearance and extensions for a total of $77.8 million.
  • Credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 211 commercial/business loan forbearance/extensions for a total of $75.5 million.
  • The credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 45,834 consumer loan payment extensions for a total of $469 million.
  • Credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 275 round one SBA Payroll Protection Loans that are SBA approved/guaranteed for a total of $14.6 million.
  • Credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 89 round two SBA Payroll Protection Loans that are SBA banrate emergency loans for a total of $178,993.
  • Credit unions in Alabama have granted at least 12,242 fee waivers.

These numbers are evolving throughout this crisis. ACUA will continue detailing the numerous ways credit unions across Alabama are helping members afford life during COVID-19.

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans are forgivable, but the SBA has a tremendous backlog of loan recipients seeking forgiveness for their loans. It could take months to work through that backlog so the credit unions and banks are having to service these low interest one percent loans that the recipients never expected to pay back. Some bank regulators want Congress to authorize the forgiveness of the smallest of the PPP loans en masse.

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Forgiving loans of less than $150,000 or $100,000 would dramatically give the SBA a reduction in the backlog and allow them to focus on the bigger loans — while clearing much of these PPP loans off the books of banks and credit unions.

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates represents 333 credit unions in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, with a combined total of more than $120 billion in assets and more than 10.3 million members. LSCU provides advocacy and regulatory information; education and training; cooperative initiatives (including financial education outreach); media relations and information; and business solutions for the industry.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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