Washington Credit Unions and Other Financial Institutions Help 30,000 Businesses Obtain Billions in SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans

Huge demand created a backlog in the government system, but credit unions cut through the red tape to help thousands of Washingtonians continue to receive paychecks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Lynn Heider
[email protected]
503.329.7208 (Mobile)

SeaTac, Washington (April 20, 2020) — Every credit union in the state is leaning in to support 4.3 million Washingtonians who are credit union members — consumers who live in communities large and small, rural and urban.

One example of this service is the benefits thousands of businesses –and the consumers who work for them– received because credit union employees were “all in” to navigate the backlog created by huge demand for Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans. Washington Credit unions and other financial institutions were able to help 30,000 small businesses receive approval for $7 billion before the funds exhausted April 16.  The loans made to small businesses are forgivable and will allow them to continue to pay their staff for up to eight weeks.

Consider the work the team at Bellingham-based WECU did to help local small businesses receive $6 million in PPP loans. The Bellingham Cider Company is an example. The popular brewery and restaurant continues to pay 15 employees and is offering curbside pickup of favorite dishes such as buttermilk- brined chicken with brown sugar waffles, and organic kale Caesar salads.

Watch this video to see how the BCC – owned by two paramedics—is helping Washingtonians to comply with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” orders while enjoying great meals.

“We may have had to shut down forever if not for the assistance,” said Bryce Hamilton, one of BCC’s owners. “WECU has been there for us every step of the way, from our opening to this crisis.”

When schools were ordered closed in Washington State, the faculty at Seattle-based Leadership Preparatory Academy scrambled to create an engaging online learning format for their students, many of whom came from high-anxiety environments.

Working just as fast and furiously was Verity Credit Union, whose staff worked over a weekend to obtain a PPP loan for the school, so its teachers’ salaries and benefits could continue.

The loan was funded last week. Virtual school is a big success, and as the school’s Founder, Maureen O’Shaughnessy said, “Financial peace of mind at a time like this is priceless.”

“Verity Credit Union’s well-being depends on the financial health of our members and communities,” said John Zmolek, President and CEO. “Doing whatever we can to help them navigate COVID-19 is an easy call.”

The HUB Center for Seniors in Belfair provides nutrition, fitness, education, and other services to area residents 60 and older. Kitsap Credit Union helped the nonprofit obtain a PPP 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.”

The Northwest Credit Union Association is urging Congress to immediately move forward with plans to provide hundreds of millions of dollars of additional funding for the SBA PPP program. Credit unions remain ready to help their members process more loans if funding becomes available.

Meanwhile, credit unions continue to find financial solutions for Washington families, through such programs as options to skip consumer, auto, and mortgage payments, low-to-no interest emergency loans, and loan modifications to make monthly payments more affordable.

These are only a few anecdotal examples of the work credit unions and their essential employees are doing to help Washington come through COVID-19 stronger than ever. As not-for-profit, cooperative financial services providers, credit unions do not pay stockholders on Wall Street. Their number one focus is their members. With all the worries Washingtonians are shouldering, they can count on help with their finances. Their credit union has their back.

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The Northwest Credit Union Association is the trade association representing more than 175 not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and their 7.3  million consumer members. As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions look out for their members’ financial well-being. Everyone should open their eyes to a credit union.  For more information, please visit: https://yourmoneyfurther.com.