In these troubling and stressful times, many companies are stepping up to provide direct relief or giving back to the community as a whole. If anything positive comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the resilience and understanding that we can work together to help sustain each other, local businesses, and communities..
Here are just a few of the financial institutions providing assistance at all levels to their customers and communities.
Citibank and Citigroup regularly update the COVID-19 section of their website to share information about government programs, the stimulus payments, and other new business funding options. Additionally, they have implemented similar financial relief programs reflected across the national banking network. These consumer and business “breaks” include waiving fees and penalties, deferring a wide range of payment types, and pausing foreclosures and evictions.
On a community level, Citi has delivered over $65 million in assistance around the world. This includes contributions from Citi and the Citi Foundation to assist frontline workers, their families, and communities most affected by COVID-19. The contributions have helped to fund medical equipment, meals, and small businesses.
Additionally, the Citi Foundation is pledging $10 million to help Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to help those entrepreneurs who have not received federal government funding. The money will also provide digital tax preparation and financial counseling services for more than 50,000 families across the U.S.
Other donations include money for No Kid Hungry to support emergency food distribution programs; funding for the National Disability Institute to provide COVID-19-related resources; and support for Microsoft
TIAA Bank is focusing its support on its consumer and business clients. It has an online COVID-19 resource center with information to direct customers on how to bank, how to reach out to the bank for support, and specific ways they plan on providing relief for their customers.
Relief is available in many forms from TIAA Bank. Consumers get help by not having to pay fees and penalties associated with everything from late payments and insufficient funds to wire transfers and ATM transactions. The maximum amount allowed for debit and cash withdrawals has increased. For those struggling to pay their mortgage because their wages were reduced or they lost their jobs, TIIA Bank is offering temporary payment forbearance for monthly mortgage and home equity line of credit payments.
Business customers can also get similar relief from TIAA Bank. No fees and payment assistance are two of the many strategies designed to help sustain businesses of all sizes during COVID-19. The bank also offers guidance on how to apply for government funding assistance and connects business customers with local organizations that offer additional resources.
Alyson Sattler, VP of Corporate Charitable Giving at Capital Group, explained that the company also plans on supporting the communities they serve. “We support the causes that our associates are involved with and annually contribute over $25 million to approximately 3,500 nonprofits around the world. We have committed an additional $2 million in disaster and humanitarian support for COVID-19.”
The bulk of these funds will be distributed over the coming months. The focus will be to support the most physically and economically vulnerable populations. This group includes older adults, households living under the poverty line, uninsured and underinsured, homeless, indigenous and people of color, immigrants and refugees, and individuals with disabilities.
She added, “For current nonprofits that we support and that may be experiencing funding challenges due to shelter-in-place guidelines, we have removed restrictions on funding so they can use our contributions in a way that will best address their changing needs.”
Truist’s COVID-19 help center offers comprehensive support for all their customers. Online and phone support provides a way to get connected with a specialist who can address individual needs and start the deferment process for various payments, including loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
Reaching into local communities, Truist is also committed to helping customers indirectly get through this pandemic. The bank started Truist Cares, an initiative that has now launched with the financial backing of $25 million in philanthropic support.
Charles Schwab has found many ways to provide community support during COVID-19.
First, Charles Schwab is now allowing customers to defer mortgage payments for up to 90 days. The bank does require payment at the end of those 90 days but there may be options for loan modification available. Its FAQ section has a new section on COVID-19-related concerns that cover payments, hours of operation, and government assistance programs.
Second, Schwab Moneywise is designed to educate and inform clients during COVID-19 in the hopes that they can help maintain financial health for their clients and respective communities. The site contains personal finance content directed at protecting money during this pandemic, budgeting tools, and educational resources directed at kids. Other resources include a list of organizations that can help with healthcare, housing, and unemployment.
“The impact of this pandemic is widespread and is impacting Americans of all walks of life—including our military community and their families,” said USAA President and CEO Wayne Peacock. “As a responsible corporate citizen and employer, we take our duty to support our members, communities and employees very seriously during these difficult times. I am proud that USAA is returning approximately $800 million in premiums to our members while also committing more than $5.4 million to non-profits supporting our communities. We have assisted more than 700,000 members with flexible payment options and our employees are now almost all working from home and have access to emergency pay and enhanced medical benefits as well.”
US Bank noted they are able to assist customers with auto, RV, and boat payments and also offer reduced pricing and APR on personal loans.
Get Assistance Now
The most important step to take as a consumer or business owner is to reach out for assistance as soon as it’s needed. With so many others needing financial help, this is the time to be proactive about getting relief or funding.
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