A U.S. credit union that was well ahead of the curve in preparing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic is now taking unprecedented steps to help its employees and communities get through the crisis.
At the direction of its CEO Dave Gunderson, Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), a $1.7 billion asset credit union in Anaheim, Calif., started developing a Coronavirus response plan on Feb. 26, when the entire United States had just 60 confirmed cases and zero deaths.
Because CU SoCal got an early start on planning, it was able to successfully order N95 masks, hand sanitizer stations for its branches, extra cleaning supplies and gloves.
The credit union also ordered extra laptops and other equipment that would allow its entire headquarters' staff to work from home, including the call center people. That means they were all working remotely before Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) ordered a state lockdown. Gunderson's foresight gained CU SoCal critical breathing room, allowing employees to make the shift to working from home with very little turbulence.
Financial assistance for employees
This week, CU SoCal announced it is giving $1,000 to every employee, regardless of length of employment. Temporary workers will also receive the money.
“This is an unprecedented time that demands extraordinary action,” said Gunderson, “Disruptions from the Coronavirus are causing financial strain for our employees and their families. We want to provide help early on to help ease some of these burdens."
“In my more than two decades with CU SoCal, we have not laid off a team member,” he continued. “We remain passionate about continuing that tradition. However, the spouses and adult children of some CU SoCal team members are beginning to experience reduction in work hours at their jobs, and it’s likely that some households will experience layoffs in the near future due to the dramatic decline in business activity.”
Helping doctors and nurses
As part of its early COVID-19 response plan, CU SoCal had ordered 250 N95 masks. But after handing them out to branch personnel and staff at headquarters who wanted them, they had 130 leftover. The senior management team decided to donate the extra masks to a local hospital. CU SoCal donated them to San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland, Calif., where the wife of the credit union's Senior VP of Lending works as a nurse. All of the doctors and nurses at the hospital immediately started using the masks when they were dropped off, and sent a photo thanking CU SoCal.