Credit Union Movement to Congress: Expand Funding for the Paycheck Protection Program Now

4/21/20 

Food trucks and catering companies are among millions of small businesses that have had to close temporarily to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to Clackamas Federal Credit Union, Two Chicks & A Rooster Catering & BBQ can pay its small staff and will hopefully be back in business soon.

Northwest credit unions stepped up in the scramble to obtain Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans for their members before the $349 billion in funds were exhausted.  

Those credit unions stand ready to help more small businesses if Congress will act now to provide more funding. The Northwest Credit Union Association’s Grassroots Advocacy Center offers turnkey options for outreach to Congress.  

Credit unions did extraordinary work in the first round. 

Despite a backlogged system and a high demand for the first round of PPP loans, credit unions and other financial institutions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington helped obtain 62,780 loans totaling $12.5 billion, according to SBA data released April 16. 

Credit union leaders have shared stories with NWCUA about pivoting their teams to focus around the clock on helping members obtain loans. They helped restaurants, construction companies, small medical offices, real estate agents, and others to be able to pay their staff for up to eight weeks, even if doors to those businesses are closed due to COVID-19.  

Take, for example, the work of Clackamas Federal Credit Union, which helped 99 Oregon businesses obtain SBA loans.  

“We are thrilled to help our small business members survive and keep their employees paid as we get through this crisis together,” said Aaron Goff, President and CEO. “We are a relatively small credit union, but our staff has worked night and day to help as many businesses as possible.” 

In the first week the funds were available, Mid Oregon Credit Union helped small businesses obtain loans that protect more than 700 jobs. 

Across Idaho, small businesses reached out to Idaho Central Credit Union, which helped 1,500 small businesses obtain over $116 million in funding, protecting thousands of jobs in the Gem State. 

In Bellingham, Washington, WECU reports obtaining more than $6 million in funding for local businesses. A popular brewery and restaurant brought 15 employees back to work who are providing curbside pickup meals. 

The HUB Center for Seniors in Belfair, Washington, provides nutrition, fitness, education, and other services to area residents aged 60 and over. Kitsap Credit Union helped the nonprofit obtain an SBA loan.  

Joy does not begin to adequately describe the feeling we had when the money hit our account,” said Beth Gizzi, Executive Director. “This is more than employee payroll protection; this is hope for a community.” 

Editor’s Note: Anthem will continue to spotlight credit unions’ work to help small businesses in the coming weeks. Northwest credit unions’ work is also being shared with state and federal elected officials and news media. Have a story to share? Email us!

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