April 2, 2020
As I write this update, the US has gone over 213,000 infected and over 4,700 deaths from COVID-19. In addition, over 8,400 have recovered. According to several sources, the next three weeks will be pivotal in the overall outcome of this virus. Many people are changing how they do business and financial institutions are no different. Looking forward, electronic delivery will grow and be the only way (when possible) people conduct business.
Since my last update, the third phase of stimulus was approved and signed into law. There are many different facets of the package and we know many members will benefit from the stimulus. Also, initial jobless claims (unemployment) came in at their highest levels in history. We expect more will come and one Wall Street firm predicts a 15 percent unemployment rate soon. The stimulus package is coming at the right time to help those with financial challenges. Expanded unemployment benefits should start for many folks that have lost their jobs recently. We expect these items will provide some cushion for our members.
At present, our branches continue to be open and we hope to keep them open as long as possible. The hours at our Air Force Academy branch were decreased to 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. based on branch traffic, limited access to the Academy, and suggestions from Academy leadership. Our strategy of having staff stay home to fill-in if needed has worked.
Last week, we opened from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and that has proven valuable to members vulnerabilities. We have reduced the number of staff members in member-facing positions so please be patient when you come in. Also, if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to others with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, please be respectful of our employees and other members by staying home. Anxiety and stress levels are high in many places. Please be considerate.
As part of our continued effort to serve members, we created AAFCU Cares. Go to our website and you will see it on the first page. If you are having financial issues due to the struggling economy, there you will find information about contacting us. We care about you and are here to help through this difficult time.
Finally, during this difficult time, our staff is working hard to help you with loan extensions, mortgage forbearance, and any needed areas. As a credit union, we are here to help. One thing that is being asked more and more, just as it was in 2008-2010, is how safe is AAFCU. We know the economy is challenged and many experts say we are in a recession. I agree we are in for a difficult and uphill battle. However, we are up for the challenge and will do everything in our power to walk with you in this journey.