Coronavirus Response – “Relief Right Now” – (Updated March 20, 2020)

We will use this page to keep members updated on our corona virus response, with newer information on top.  As this situation is rapidly changing, we strongly encourage you to follow us on Facebook to get the most up to date information about the credit union.

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March 27th, 2020

Letter from the President: Coronavirus Response Update

Well, week two of social distancing in the books.

Last night we all received word that the Governor has instituted a “Shelter in Place” order starting at 12:01 on Saturday morning. Montana Health is considered an essential service under the order and will remain open under our “by appointment model”.

We remain dedicated to helping our members through this difficult time by maintaining our full staff, offering limited lobby service and instituting a new suite of products designed specifically for the environment we are in right now. Please see my previous letter or visit https://www.montanahealthfcu.org/credit-union-coronavirus-response/ to get further details on steps we are taking to ensure both safety and service. If you aren’t following us on Facebook, I would strongly encourage you to do so – that’s our fastest way for us to get information out during this rapidly evolving situation.

I will close again with thanking our members who are on the frontlines directly battling this pandemic. With your help, Montana will come out of this even stronger than before.

Dennis R. Wizeman
President/CEO Montana Health FCU

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March 20th, 2020

Letter from the President on Montana Health’s Special Mission

As we end the first week of intense social distancing, I have been reflecting a great deal on Montana Health’s special mission to serve the people who work in healthcare.

Credit Unions in general are special because of their defined fields of membership. Some serve specific geographic areas. Some serve specific employers or industry groups. We are chartered to serve people who work in healthcare. Now, more than ever, that mission has become critically important. Serving the people who are basically charged with saving the world – well, that’s a pretty heavy responsibility.

To that end, we have begun to look at extra ordinary steps to meet the needs of our members. Here are a few things we have done or are going to do in the next few days to help our members out during this time of pandemic:

 

  • Relief Right Now HELOC Program
    • A home equity program designed to get cash to members who need it fast. We’ve dramatically lowered the rate to 2.99%, sped up the process to the shortest time allowed by law and modified our credit guidelines to serve more people. With this new program you can get access to up to $20,000 of home equity with a lower interest only payment for two years before going to traditional interest/principal payments. This product will come with its own dedicated plastic card you can use anywhere you see the Visa logo – no longer any need to come into the office to get an advance, and no longer any minimum advance requirement. Our healthcare folks are generally working now, but many of their spouses may now be on furlough. This product is designed to help with cash flow during this time.
  • Relief Right Now Home Equity Special
    • A new, non-line of credit product designed for folks who only want to do one draw and go right away into a traditional principal/interest payment. We have also built in low rates into this product (as low as 3.74%) and allowed for up to 100% loan-to-value. This product may allow for a greater advance, but still with a price below market rates.
  • Relief Right Now Auto Loan Program
    • An auto loan program that allows for the lower payments like a lease but gives the benefits of ownership to our members. Unlike traditional leases, this program will allow our members to purchase used vehicles up 4 years old. If a member buys a car that’s two years old (after it has already suffered its major depreciation hit) and uses this program, they may be able to dramatically lower their monthly payment. This increases cash flow while still giving our members the ability to upgrade what is typically the second most valuable asset on their personal balance sheets.
  • Lobby Restrictions
    • Most institutions around the country have gone to “appointment-only” models for lobby traffic this week. Our members, more than most people, understand the need to do this to protect both members and employees, and to slow down the rate of infection around the country. Currently we are offering “curbside service” to our members where we will meet you right outside our office to bring out counter checks, paperwork – whatever is needed. We will be refining this process and looking for improvements.
  • Electronic Services
    • We are actively going through our files to find members who aren’t effectively using our free electronic services. We will provide these members with plastic, or give instruction on how to use mobile banking, or show where they can find surcharge free ATM’s.
  • Relief Right Now Credit Assistance and Education
    • We are actively looking for solutions for members who are experiencing credit problems during this time. We cannot solve every problem – but we will make accommodations where we can and provide education at every turn. There’s enough panic right now about the pandemic. We will try to provide some calm about your finances right now.  To this end we have temporarily expanded our Skip-A-Pay program
      • The fee for the program is waived.
      • The application period has been moved from 15 days before the loan is due to 9 days after the due date.
  • Restrictions Apply
    • Nothing in banking is ever as simple as it should be, so this is the part where I need to tell you that certain restrictions apply, you should call the office for further details, we are NCUA insured and an equal housing lender, etc., etc. That legalese out of the way, I will let you know that our intention is to make all of this as simple for you as we can.

And that represents the start of how we will attempt to help out during the pandemic. We know that you are doing all of the real heavy lifting right now. We will keep trying to make things on the financial side easier so that you can keep concentrating on saving the world.

Dennis R. Wizeman
President/CEO, Montana Health FCU

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March 17th, 2020

Montana Health will be closing its lobby to general traffic starting Wednesday, March 18th.  A few items to note:

  • The credit union will still be open for business and processing items;
  • We will be answering and returning phone calls
  • We will let members in on an appointment basis for transactions that absolutely cannot be completed electronically;
  • We will be checking our night drop hourly to process items;
  • Our electronic services (deposit taking ATM, remote deposit capture, online and mobile banking) will be unaffected by this closure;
  • The MoneyPass ATM network will allow our members to complete surcharge free ATM transactions wherever they see the MoneyPass logo;
  • The lobby will closed until further notice.  We will open when it is deemed safe and prudent to open for both members and employees of the credit union.  Our goal is to open as soon as possible once these conditions are met.

We truly appreciate your patience while we all weather out this storm caused by the Covid-19 virus.  And to our members especially, working the frontline of the pandemic on the front lines, we give a heartfelt thank you.  We’ve always said you were exceptional — you’re proving it more than ever now.

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March 12th, 2020

Letter from the President:

Unless directed by governmental authorities, Montana Health Federal Credit Union plans to remain open for the duration of this pandemic event.  That being said, we strongly encourage members to find alternative channels to accessing credit union services other than branch visits.  The credit union has the following channels available:

  • For cash:
    • Credit Union ATM at our location at our 2nd Avenue Branch
    • MoneyPass ATM’s (surcharge free for MHFCU members).  A list of these ATM’s can be found here: MoneyPass ATM Locator
  • Online Banking Functionality:
    • Account information
    • Transferring between accounts
  • Mobile Banking Functionality:
    • Account information
    • Transferring between accounts
    • Mobile Remote Deposit Capture
  • Night Drop at 2nd Avenue Location
    • Will now be checked hourly, rather than just once a day.
  • Curbside Assistance
    • Higher risk members who need to transact business at our office can call in and one of our employees will meet them at their car to help them avoid coming into the lobby.
  • Loans
    • We will attempt to do most transactions via DocuSign.
  • Phones:
    • At this point the credit union remains fully staffed and ready to assist member on the phone.

Again, we will make every effort to service our members during this period of “social distancing”.  In order to comply with suggestions made by public health officials, we do ask members to limit their visits to the office — please call first or use one of the many electronic channels we have made available over the years and only come in if you have to.  Since a majority of members work in the health field, they already understand the need for these precautions far better than most.  These next few weeks will be a test for how well we can service our amazing members as they strive to take care of the rest of us!  We hope we can perform as wonderfully as they will.

Dennis R. Wizeman

President/CEO MHFCU

Click here if you wish to see the section of our policy devoted to pandemic response.