Minnesota Credit Unions Provide Relief for Small Businesses
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
St. Paul, Minn. – Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Minnesota, the state’s credit unions have provided Main Street relief through business loan payment extensions and Paycheck Protection Program loans.
A recent survey of more than three quarters of Minnesota Credit Unions indicate that:
- 890 business loan payments have been extended totaling $624 million
- $132 million in PPP loans were provided in the first round of funding
Credit unions from across the state are responding to the economic impacts of the pandemic by helping businesses get access to loans and navigate resources.
Central Minnesota Credit Union (Melrose) has taken in over 1,200 PPP applications since the program launched and has been working around the clock to support members and nonmembers alike. One applicant wrote “You are amazing. I am so glad that I contacted you and CMCU. Your first call to me was on a Saturday afternoon, I put in my application Friday afternoon. Then you emailed me last night after 9:00 p.m. The fact that you would work those kinds of hours for someone you’ve never met and who wasn’t even a customer of yours speaks volumes of your character and work ethic. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“During these unprecedented times, we feel that it is important to do everything we can to provide financial support and resources for our members and community,” said Aaron DeJong, President & CEO, Red Wing Credit Union. “Participating as a lender for SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program has been an important avenue for providing direct support to the small businesses in and around Red Wing. The idea that we are helping local businesses maintain their employment levels for the next couple of months is extremely rewarding.”
“We have helped 237 businesses and non-profits in rural central Minnesota,” said Chuck Albrecht, CEO of Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union (Brainerd). “This includes a sanitation company that was about to lay off 50% of its workforce due to lack of seasonal cabin traffic; 8 nonprofits; and multiple businesses that were turned away from their large primary financial institution not taking additional applications.”
“We believe the impact to our community is going to be better if we are involved,” Chris Guarnera, RBCU’s vice president of commercial sales said. “It’s important for us to support the people that have supported us through the years.” RBCU’s (Bloomington) loan applications have come from a variety of business owners of different sizes. Their smallest loan was for $2,200 to a sole proprietorship; and no single loan has topped $750,000, Guarnera said.
Credit unions are owned by their members and the Minnesota Credit Union Network gathered comments from business owners who received extensions or PPP loans:
Luke Petrich, of Building Blocks Learning Center, shared this about Members Cooperative Credit Union (Duluth): “You have saved the day!! You are… the unsung heroes folks don't talk about. You saved our business! Your work allows us to stay open, pay our staff, provide care for our community, [and] you've had a direct impact on the lives of 20-some employees and about 110 kiddos in our program!!! Be proud of your work… there are no words that can adequately describe how grateful we are for you and your team!!! You're all Rock Stars!!!”
City & County Credit Union (St. Paul) assisted a self-employed salon owner and received this testimonial: “I want to thank you for all your help with the PPP program. I received my money this morning! I appreciate your effort to get me in and I'm super impressed by CCCU! People I know that applied weeks before me have not seen a dime yet! I owe you a haircut when I'm up and running again!”
TopLine Federal Credit Union (Maple Grove) noted it has established 19 new business relationships as a result of helping small businesses through the application process. One member commented: “Incredible. This assures I will start the process of converting everything over to TopLine. When I met you a few years ago this was exactly the kind of banking relationship I was looking for and you have earned all of my business and then some. Can’t thank you enough.”
Credit unions, as not for profit financial cooperatives, give back to their communities in good times and bad. They invest in the community they are part of by providing financial education, community service projects, and support of local businesses.
Image: Minnesota Credit Union COVID-19 Impact in Action Report
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is the statewide trade association that works to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. With nearly $24 billion in assets, Minnesota credit unions are local, trusted financial cooperatives that serve more than 1.8 million members at almost 400 branch locations around the state. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions give back to the communities they serve. For more information, visit mncun.org.