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Central One Federal Credit Union


The day was Thursday, March 12th, 2020, when I realized that the COVID- 19 virus was going to disrupt the way that

Central One Federal Credit Union operated and how the world would operate. I immediately authorized the purchase of dozens of personal laptop computers. Knowing that, based upon news reports at the time, the virus was easily transmitted and also potentially deadly. Consequently, I believed that we’d need to establish access for our employees from their homes to keep them safe.

The laptops purchased were then loaded with the appropriate safety VPN and connectivity software to secure the integrity of the data and provide software access that the employees would need to perform their work. Also, the laptops required specific telephone software for member contact staff to support the incoming telephone call volume that we anticipated would increase. Within five business days, the credit union had established a successful transformation to remote workers for about 75% of the working staff.

As the Commonwealth and the CDC adjusted their views of the management of the crisis, Central One continued to increase its implementation of converting our team to remote working. The decision making at this point centered on the perceived time frame for this crisis, and it became apparent within a few weeks that it wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon. The goal became to operate the credit union in such a fashion that we could continue to serve the membership to full capacity while keeping the staff safe from the transmission of the virus. We in tandem with other financial institutions converted to “Drive-up business only” with lobby access by “Appointment only.” This change was consistent with our goal to serve the members and keep the staff safe. The credit union also immediately instituted a “Mask Mandatory” policy to help ensure control over the transmission of the virus. After several weeks of managing to the crisis, it became abundantly clear that the credit union and the world would be adapting to a “New World” of conducting business.

The next stage of managing in this new environment was setting up policies and protocols to provide financial relief to the members who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. As the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate skyrocketed, the credit union implemented several relief measures to accommodate the needs of its membership. Those relief policies include the following; Payment Deferral, Skip-a-Pay, Modification, and Refinancing, amongst others. The members continue to seek relief, and the credit union is committed to providing that relief whenever warranted.

Additionally, the Federal Government instituted a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program, designed to assist small business owners in retaining staff and funding the monies needed to compensate that staff. As an existing SBA (Small Business Association) member, the credit union was able to promptly establish a brand new program to support the PPP loans offered by the government. At this time, the credit union has processed and funded hundreds of loans for millions of dollars of support for employees and their small business owners. The credit union continues to accept PPP loan requests and supports the approval and funding of these loans as the economy works towards the re-opening and rehiring of the staff who are now unemployed.

As an “Essential Business” as determined by the Governor’s Office of the Commonwealth, the credit union had been operating with the threat of the virus for several months at this time. The Commonwealth also has required all businesses to establish definitive behavior protocols throughout the workplace to ensure the safety of its employee and the people they serve. Central One continues to operate within its plan as directed to help both parties, the members, and its employees where safety is paramount. We are proud to say that the credit union offers 100% of its suite of products and services, including its non-traditional services of Investments and Insurance.

I wish to thank our Board of Directors for their leadership, direction, and support as well as the membership for their cooperation and loyalty during this time. Additionally, I’d like to thank the credit union staff for their commitment to serve and work ethic during these trying times.

As we slowly return to the new normal, our credit union is positioned to innovate, respond, and adapt to our member’s needs. I couldn’t be more proud of how Central One has faced the challenges and become stronger and more unified in our role of service to our community.

Sincerely yours,
David L’Ecuyer