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OR Credit Unions Help Small Businesses with Coronavirus Relief Funds

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Two Chicks and a Rooster Catering in Milwaukie, Oregon, was among the businesses Clackamas Federal Credit Union was able to help get coronavirus relief funds. (Northwest Credit Union Association)
Two Chicks and a Rooster Catering in Milwaukie, Oregon, was among the businesses Clackamas Federal Credit Union was able to help get coronavirus relief funds. (Northwest Credit Union Association)
April 27, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon credit unions are facilitating relief for small businesses feeling the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the first round of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program loans ran out on April 16, credit unions had helped businesses secure thousands of jobs, with forgivable loans covering staff pay for up to eight weeks.

Aaron Goff, president and CEO of Clackamas Federal Credit Union, says his small credit union helped about 100 businesses receive nearly $10 million. He says his team came together quickly to start processing loans, working weekends and long hours to help businesses.

"We've had folks working well into the evening hours getting approvals done," he relates. "I know the last day that funds were still available in the first round, my business services manager was up until 2 a.m. processing applications and emailing out approvals to members. So it's definitely been a labor of love."

Nearly 19,000 Oregon businesses received loans totaling $3.8 billion in the first round of funding. Congress approved replenishing funds for the Paycheck Protection Program last week and the government is now accepting another round of applications.

Some small businesses have struggled to get loans from larger financial institutions, which were inundated with applications when the loan program was set up.

Goff says credit unions like his are focused on smaller businesses, unlike the larger-scale institutions.

"They want to process the $10 million loans," he states. "It's a lot easier to process one of those than it is 10 $1 million loans. So the smaller institutions like ourselves, those smaller loans are our bread and butter and that's what we're focused on."

Goff says even if businesses aren't able to get paycheck relief, financial institutions are able to help in other ways. Credit unions have been able to support folks with options like skipping loan payments and offering low or no-interest emergency loans.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR