Credit Unions and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
10 Apr 2020
COVID-19 means changes to how credit unions conduct business with members. We know you might have questions aroung these changes, so we’ve compiled a list of frequent queries for you to read.
If you have any additional questions that aren't listed below, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local credit union, here.
1. Will the Credit Union be remaining open?
We have been deemed an essential service which means most credit union offices will adhere to stay open during this time but encourage members to conduct business over the phone and online where possible.
2. I’m concerned about my credit union loan repayment. What should I do?
Credit unions are fully aware of the impact which the COVID-19 pandemic has had on members and their local communities. Each credit union makes decisions at local level and members are advised to contact their credit union directly if they have any concerns in relation to loan repayments. You may find your local credit union using the credit union locator by clicking here.
3. What is the process? Will I be charged if I restructure my loan?
Each credit union sets its own lending policy and has its own loan process. When you contact your credit union, a member of staff will be on hand to guide you through the process and explain to you what your options are. Credit unions do not charge rescheduling fees.
4. Will my credit rating be impacted if I agree a repayment arrangement with my credit union?
Credit unions fully understand the difficult position which members, through no fault of their own, find themselves in. This is particularly the case for people who have lost their jobs or whose working conditions have been changed. In each individual case, the credit union will endeavour to work with the member to find a suitable solution. Credit unions will not reporting an agreed repayment arrangement as a missed payment.
5. Are credit unions offering payment breaks or other relief on loan repayments?
In this difficult time, credit unions are committed to taking the time to understand each members individual situation and to explore options which might be appropriate in each circumstance. Each credit union is owned by and run in the best interest of credit union members. All decisions of this nature will be made by the credit union at local level.
6. Are credit unions still issuing loans?
Yes. Credit unions across the island are continuing to lend. Some credit unions are enabling in-branch applications, while others are enabling members to apply online.
7. I am a vulnerable member, who is cocooning. What do I do?
Due to the Government advice that persons over 70 years old, or those who are immunocompromised, should remain at home throughout this period, we recommend that such persons should not attend the credit union offices in person. In order to facilitate services at this time, the credit union may contact vulnerable members to advise them of alternative methods of transacting, such as standing orders or direct debits. If you are a vulnerable member and have any queries or concerns in relation to using the services at your local credit union, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for information on how they can help.
8. What happens if a member dies?
If you are facing the sudden death of a family member and are concerned about their finances with us, we are here to help. Please contact us to talk about the next steps. Credit unions offer loan protection insurance to eligible members. This means should a member with an outstanding loan balance die, the balance is repaid in full, subject to terms and conditions and certain cover limits which apply. Click here for more info.
Another service offered to some credit unions to eligble members is Death benefit insurance, which helps pay for end of life expenses. It pays a fixed lump sum in the event of death and where death is as a result of an accident, the lump sum can be doubled. There are some terms and conditions to meet for inclusion. Click here for more information.
9. Can I access my savings?
You can withdraw your money on demand from most credit union accounts. For those credit unions who put restrictions in place to access savings online, some have lifted these restrictions. For members who are required to keep a certain amount of savings if you also have a loan, please contact your local credit union to discuss these restrictions.
10. What is the credit union doing to ensure safety in branches?
All credit unions that remain open are implements social distancing within branches, and restricting access to a certain amount of members at a time. Many have also introduced mandatory use of antibacterial hand cleanser at entry to hall, as well as hourly cleaning of teller desks. Credit unions are asking all members to only conduct transactions over the phone or online where possible.
11. I cannot get through to my credit union on the phone. What should I do?
Credit union staff are dealing with a very high volume of queries and are endeavouring to deal with each enquiry as quickly as possible. Please try to be patient if phone lines are busy. You may wish to make check out your credit union's website to see if you can find the information you need. Otherise, you can email the credit union with your query or you may be able to submit an online enquiry.
12. How do I register for online banking?
Credit unions that offer online banking services will allow you to register for an account online and login to use their online facilities. You can do so on many credit union websites. Please you’re your local credit union if you need help going through the steps.
13. My Credit Union account is dormant. Can I reactivate it?
Many dormant accounts are classified as any account which has no member generated transaction in the last 3 years. For many credit unions, when an account becomes dormant – your shares will remain in the Credit Union and will continue to earn dividend on an annual basis, however you will not be able to transact on your account until you provide the required photo ID and proof of address. You may be able to:
Reactivate your account: To do this, many credit unions will ask you to make a transaction (lodgement or withdrawal). You may also need valid photo I.D. (passport or driving licence) and proof of address (utility bill or bank statement dated within the last 6 months).
Close your account: To do this you will need valid photo I.D. (passport or driving licence) to withdraw your shares and close your account.
Transfer your account to another Credit Union. If you have moved area and wish to transfer to a Credit Union closer to your current residence, you can contact your nearest Credit Union to make the transfer.