Behind the broad changes caused by COVID‐19 that are impacting our community, are individuals experiencing disruptions to their health, comfort and finances on a personal level. Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed) has spent the past few months finding ways to support their customers and the community as they navigate the impacts of COVID‐19.
Small Business Payment Protection Program
Designed as an incentive to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll, the small business Payment Protection Program (PPP) has been helping businesses with loans to make it through the difficult times caused by COVID‐19. OlyFed has been helping its customers by processing loan applications for this important program.
“We’ve processed 89 loans, totaling $4.9 million in a little over a month,” says Carrie Whisler, VP Business Banking. “It’s been an all hands‐on deck effort for our team,” she says, explaining that everyone has pitched in to get the loans done quickly and properly, getting the money to local small businesses. OlyFed has helped all types of organizations with securing the loans. The organizations represent a diverse cross‐section of Thurston County, from nonprofit organizations, faith‐based organizations, and medical providers, to restaurants and retail shops. “We’ve helped sole proprietorships to operations with dozens of employees,” says Whisler, “preserving over 525 jobs in the community.”
For OlyFed mortgage customers filing for unemployment, or seeing reduced hours and wages during the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, making the monthly mortgage payment has been a real concern. “Whether we’ve been making adjustments to their loans, or simply offering them sound financial advice, we’ve been able to help 100 percent of our customers who suffered some sort of financial hardship as a result of the pandemic that came to us looking for help,” says Jennifer Arnold, SVP, Chief Banking Officer. “It’s been an honor to be there for our customers facing these challenges,” she adds.
Instead of deferring mortgage payments until after the COVID‐19 crisis settles, resulting in one large balloon payment, OlyFed worked with their customers, extending out the length of their mortgage, or dispersing the monthly payments over the remaining life of the loan making it more manageable for them,” explains Arnold.
In addition to helping mortgage customers, OlyFed has been working with other account holders. “Some customers have needed to access their savings to help them get through these tough times,” says Arnold, “and we’ve been flexible, for instance, waiving the usual early withdrawal fee for CD’s in light of the current situation to make things a little easier for those customers.”
Launched in late 2018, OlyFed’s Two‐Cent Campaign continues to be a simple and creative way for OlyFed customers to help their community. For every debit transaction, even throughout the COVID‐19 crisis, 2‐cents was donated to a local nonprofit doing good in the community. That means that every time a customer used their OlyFed debit card to pay for take‐out from an area restaurant or placing an
online order with a retail shop, they were helping others in their community through local nonprofits.
In April, the Two‐Cents campaign supported Behavioral Health Resources, and in May they worked with Interfaith Works. This month, they’ve been working with Dry Tikes and Wet Wipes, which provides things like diapers, wipes and formula to families in need.
On top of the Two‐Cents Campaign, OlyFed has continued to support area organizations with sponsorship, even as most events switched from in‐person to virtual ones. “Our sponsorship and donations over the month of May were around $40,000,” said Ryan Betz, VP Marketing & Public Relations. In addition, they donated $10,000 to support the Thurston County COVID‐19‐response fund.
OlyFed continues to operate with customer and employee health and safety in mind. They’re helping their customers through the drive‐thru, over the phone, and with online banking options. “Our employees have been great. Whether they are meeting customers in our parking lot to get signatures on paperwork, answering the phones to help our customers with advice and resources, or being the friendly face at the drive‐thru, they’ve been doing a fantastic job,” says Betz.
“We’ve been here for 114 years. We’ve been through the Great Depression, World War I and World War II, the Great Recession of 2008, and many other challenging times for our customers and community,” says Betz. “We will follow our values and principles, working with our customers on an individual basis, taking the time to get to know them, helping them reach their goals, and doing that in a thoughtful, kind way.”
In time, the COVID‐19 crisis will become a part of our history. The impacts, even the more lasting ones, will fade into the passing of time. But OlyFed will still be there for their customers and the community, not just there during times of ease, but sticking with us during the times of challenge.