Your Baton Rouge bank may offer relief programs during COVID-19 pandemic

Some banks may offer relief programs

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards’ recent stay-at-home policy closed the doors of all non-essential businesses. Now, those small business workers might be wondering how to pay the bills on time and some banks want to know how to help.

“We’ve reached out to every small business owner that we have and we asked them what kind of challenges do they face,” said Steve Webb, president of Neighbors Federal Credit Union (NFCU).

NFCU is just one community institution offering relief to customers.

“We continue to offer our members the business support, really the comfort, that they need to know everything is going to be okay. Don’t panic,” said Webb.

Some of that comfort includes the access to live tellers, which help perform bank-related actions without having to come in contact with a person. NFCU also offers a 90-day loan deferral, so if you can’t pay your car note right now, then you have the option to pay it later.

“If we can get to 90 days, then we can reevaluate and determine if there are some long-term strategies we need to employ,” said Webb.

Other local institutions are offering similar relief strategies, like Gulf Coast Bank & Trust.

“We’re not charging late fees, nor are we charging an early withdrawal fee, if you want to cancel a CD or take money out of a CD,” said Guy Williams, president of Gulf Coast Bank & Trust.

Banks want you to access your money if you need it. Even big names like Chase Bank may help you with mortgage payments. All banks, big or small, recommend you make your payments if possible, but if you can’t, just pick up the phone and ask if they can help.

“We are answering a lot of odd technical questions, like how to log onto a Netflix account from multiple devices,” said Williams. “But that’s okay. We’re happy to do it.”

At the beginning of March, the FDIC encouraged financial institutions, like banks and credit unions, to meet the needs of customers affected by coronavirus. Many banks will work with your situation if you call them to ask questions or send the facility a secure message online. Also, get on your bank’s website. Many of them have COVID-19 updates on the homepage.

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