Zimmerman: Responding to pandemic requires all of us to pull together
As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact communities across the country, Oregon's banks are making the health and well-being of their employees, customers and the communities their top priority. Banks of all sizes are responding to the needs of individual and business customers directly affected, as well as providing much needed support to the communities they serve.
The entire financial services industry can take these steps at this difficult moment in part because America's banks entered this pandemic from a position of strength, thanks to strong capital and liquidity levels as well as prudent planning and risk management. Initiatives vary by institution and individual customer circumstances, and include hardship programs, fee waivers, deferring loan payments, providing loan modifications, assisting customers with use of mobile and digital banking platforms, providing safe banking services by expanding drive-thru operations, as well as many others.
During these times of economic uncertainty, one constant is the safety of your money in Oregon's banks. Deposits at a bank provide the confidence of knowing that your funds are secure and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) at minimum levels of $250,000 per depositor per bank. Contact your bank to discuss additional tools from the FDIC that may expand this coverage. This same level of protection cannot be provided if you are accumulating cash personally, which may also put you and your family at risk. These are the exact times when our families and our communities want the certainty and dependability of your financial institution.
This is a healthcare crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with both the families dealing with the impacts of the virus and the healthcare professionals on the front lines. These healthcare professionals are exhibiting a degree of dedication that is beyond admirable. The best way to limit the economic damage of this crisis is to follow the state of Oregon's emergency declaration and our healthcare professionals, containing the virus as quickly as possible. Stay at home and save lives, practice appropriate social distancing if you must go out, and remember to wash your hands often. These simple steps will slow the virus, break the chain and limit the economic impact of this crisis.
If you are able, please consider supporting your local restaurant who is offering take-out delivery or curbside pickup. These businesses need our support now more than ever. Please also consider donating to one of many local nonprofit organizations that are providing services for those impacted by this crisis. Children are especially impacted, and your local school districts are in need of our support.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is accepting direct applications for economic injury disaster loans. These loans are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes to meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.
Working together, we can break the chain, flatten the curve and shorten the impact from COVID-19.
Gordon Zimmerman is president and chief executive officer of Citizens Bank.
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