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Local Credit Union CEO Gives Tips On How To Utilize Banking Services During Pandemic

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With the coronavirus situation becoming more serious every day, we have some tips for you on how to utilize banking services during the pandemic. 

Jennifer Binkley is the President & CEO of Altura Credit Union in Riverside. She says if you’re losing income because of COVID-19, try not to panic.

Binkley: “I think what we're seeing mostly from our members right now, consumers in general, is people aren't sure about what's going on or being impacted maybe not the by virus but cut hours or unemployment and so the first thing that I always tell members is to stay calm and to not panic if you're being impacted today by loss of income is to call your bank or credit union as soon as possible.”

Many credit unions and banks are implementing policies to help people affected by the pandemic, Binkley says.

Binkley: “We're here, available, ready, we have a ton of solutions, our credit union has already issued skip-of-pays for the month of March, April, May, and so we'll be waiving the fees to members who'll be impacted can apply to skip their loan payments for those months. We also have a mortgage payment relief program for members directly affected by COVID-19, we're waiving early withdrawal fees on share certificates, we're waiving fees for late payments, we're waiving ATM fees for our members, and we're really just trying to give as many resources as we can. At the end of this week we'll have a zero-percent interest, 90 day deferred payment loan for our members. It's a smaller amount but based to help for cash aids during this time. So just any way we can be of assistance is what we're here to do.”

Binkley says using online banking is a good way to practice social distancing while still managing your money.

Binkley: “Use online, use chat, call, whatever they feel more comfortable with, we have many mediums that they can use. Anything that can be done in a branch can be done online. I do know that there are still people that want to know that the branch is open. We will be reducing our hours next week just because we've already seen our members coming in, the foot traffic has been reduced. We currently are only allowing three to six members in our branch at a time and we're practicing social distancing by tape on the ground to try to help members stay apart. We're open because we know members need us during this time but also encouraging people to use online and mobile banking function for us or for any financial institution.”

Another thing to watch out for as we work and bank from home is scammers.        

Binkley: “We've seen that there are members who are already being approached by claims and cures, people wanting them to pay money for a cure. There isn't a cure at this time, so we don't people doing this, they're asking for wire. A lot of times it's happening through email, so if something sounds too good to be true and you don't know who the person is that's sending it to you, don't send them money. We've also seen that the robo-calls, automated calls that are coming out and text messages giving offers of test kits and vaccinations if people contact them, the latest one we've seen is stimulus packages where people are being asked to pay upfront to get their stimulus check. But no one will be able to asked to pay anything to get their stimulus check from the government. And so we want people to be extra cautious and most recently we've heard of people going on, knocking on doors, claiming to be people from the county health department and no one is doing that either, going door to door. So we want people just to be cautious and use common sense in dealing with things. If it sounds too good to be true or it sounds like a scam, it probably is.”

You can check your bank or credit union’s policies during the coronavirus pandemic online.

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