Honor Credit Union adapts to COVID-19

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — When Honor Credit Union geared up to help its members during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of its own team was its main focus, said Stacey Dodson, Honor’s interim vice president of marketing.

Realizing the pandemic would create a time period of temporary market disruption and that its members would be dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 in a variety of ways, Dodson said Honor created its Honor Financial Relief Package beginning on March 18. The comprehensive package offered skip-a-payment options on personal loans, mortgages, credit card bills and offered a 90-day no payment option on consumer loans.

“We rolled out what’s called a ‘Here to Help Loan,’ which was a personal loan with a low interest rate,” Dodson said. “We waived quite a few fees and provided some mortgage and home equity relief and some business loan relief.”

Dodson said, as a credit union, the members are owners and invited members to call their branch and tell the staff what types of solutions they needed to fit specific situations.

Between March 18 and April, 24, Dodson said members have taken advantage of some of the relief options. More than 4,100 payments have been skipped, Dodson said.

“To give you some context, in the same time frame last year, we had 399 payments skipped,” Dodson said. “So, members have really taken advantage of this opportunity.”

Honor also waived its $40 skip payment fees and has seen more than 100 members apply for Here to Help personal loans.

Honor has also been aiding small businesses. In the first wave of $349 billion stimulus dollars, which was part of the Paycheck Protection Program, within Honor’s pipeline, staff helped 250 businesses throughout the process.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a bill to approve an additional $310 billion for the second wave of the Paycheck Protection Program. Dodson said Honor is ready and prepared to continue to help businesses is the second round.

“We have an additional 170 business that we anticipate will be helping soon,” she said. “We have members in different stages of the process for this next phase coming.”
Dodson said Honor predicts the money will go fast due to the extreme need in the current economy.

“The money in the first round was all allocated in less than two weeks,” she said. “When the second round comes out, we anticipate it is going to go through much faster.”

Honor Credit Union has 24 locations throughout the state of Michigan, including locations spread throughout southwest Michigan including locations in Dowagiac, Niles, Berrien Springs and St. Joseph, Michigan.

Dodson said the businesses receiving funds from the Payment Protection Program reflect the business members throughout all of Honor’s market areas.

Also during the pandemic, Dodson said the credit union has worked to provide fraud information to its members.

“Unfortunately, in times of uncertainty, fraudsters really like to take advantage of those opportunities,” she said.

During the period that stimulus relief checks were sent out, Dodson said fraudsters might try contacting people over the phone for their account information.

Overall, Dodson said Honor is continuing to listen to the needs of its members.

“All of our solutions are really tailored to fit their situation knowing that we can kind of get through this together,” Dodson said. “That has been our guiding principal throughout this process.”