Last Updated 2/19/2021
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to make headlines, your credit union is here to help you navigate financial decision making. Here are the latest credit union developments you should know:
BCU Lobby Reopens on Monday, February 22
We are looking forward to in-person visits from our members beginning Monday, February 22. Though the lobby is open, use of the drive-up is the most distanced way to conduct your transaction, and you are welcome to continue to do your transactions there.
Because your safety and ours is still the objective, please wear a mask when you enter the office, and observe the distancing markers. Our staff is not a "deep bench," and our desire is to have all healthy hands-on-deck to serve you. If you prefer to schedule an appointment for your visit, do call us at 715-359-7012. This allows us to be prepared and available. Please know our lobby and workspaces are frequently disinfected, and routinely “deep cleaned.”
The lobby is open normal hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:30–4:30, and Friday, 8:30–5:30.
The drive-up hours are open with one change: Monday – Thursday 8:30–5:00, and Friday, 7:30–5:30. (The drive up is no longer open at 7:30 on Monday mornings.)
Electronic and Digital Options remain:
- Online Banking at www.brokawcu.com (upper right hand corner)
- Mobile Banking through our TouchBanking Mobile App (by Fiserv) - which includes the mobile deposit of checks.
- ATM service located near our drive-thru location, or at any one of the thousands of Alliance One partnering credit union ATMs, located here. VISA® debit card or credit card. To request a debit card, please contact us.
- To apply for loan, or to start a new account, you can apply online, or call us at 715-359-7012
Let us know if there is any other way we can serve you!
Economic Stimulus Payments - Round 2
The Treasury and IRS announced the second round of Economic Stimulus Payments (EIPs) to begin December 30, with an effective direct deposit date of January 4, 2021. It is estimated that 113 million EIP2s will be made by ACH Direct Deposit. Checks will also begin to be mailed December 30; estimated check volume is 5 to 7 million per week.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- The amount of the payments will be lower
- A much higher percentage of payments will be made by ACH Direct Deposit
- The disbursement process will begin much more quickly, and will last no longer than a few weeks, as the deadline for the IRS is set as January 15, 2021
- The identification of the ACH Direct Deposits will include a different description, this time using “XXTAXEIP2”
- The EIPs in round two (EIP2s) are exempt from garnishment
- The upper income limit for individuals and families to be eligible is a little lower than with the first round of payments under the CARES Act. Some people that qualified for EIP1 under the CARES Act will not qualify for EIP2 under the new COVID relief package
- Deceased individuals who died on or after January 1, 2020 are eligible for EIPs (but are subject to other eligibility criteria)
- The IRS portal to provide Direct Deposit information is not available, as the deadline to provide new information has already passed
With the increase in COVID-19 cases in our area, we have decided to close our lobby for an undetermined period of time. Please know if you have transactions that require inside service (such as account opening, loan closings or safe deposit access) we will service you by appointment, asking that you please wear a mask when inside the credit union.
You may always feel free to call the credit union at 715-359-7012 and our staff is present and ready to assist you.
Additionally, our online services remain available - whether online banking, our TouchBanking mobile app, or CORA (Automated Teller). If you need assistance signing up for any of these remote services, we invite you to call us and we will be glad to help you out.
BCU's lobby is now open to assist members with transactions. However, as we ease back into service, we request members continue to use online and mobile banking or the drive-up for routine financial transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, transfers and loan payments; or to obtain simple account information. Please note: We continue to waive phone transfer fees, Share Certificate & Christmas Club Penalty fees through July 31, and loan late fees through June 15, 2020.
To ensure protection for all present, we have added plexiglass shields, lobby sanitizers, and 6' distancing markers. To accommodate such distancing, the number of members allowed inside may be limited to 10. Facility cleaning and sanitizing is scheduled to occur routinely.
We thank you for your past patience in adapting to new servicing methods these past many weeks, and ask for your continued support and patience as we carefully reestablish lobby accessibility.
May 23, 2020
A Note from our President
What an interesting season of life we have experienced together these past weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve all been challenged to adjust to different ways of doing things, and we cannot say a loud enough THANK YOU for your patience and adaptation to “drive-up life”. Your gracious attitudes have made our jobs easier.
Presently our lobbies remain closed as we seek wise counsel in navigating the many facets of a safe reopening. While we hope this pandemic will soon depart, it is prudent we prepare for its longer stay, which motivates us to protect you and our staff. Please know we are currently putting processes in place, so when the time is right, we can reopen our lobbies in the safest way possible.
During this time, however, we encourage you to continue to use our online services and mobile banking. These 24/7 services allow you to safely view transactions, check balances, make payments, deposit checks and more – all from the comfort of your home! You are able to apply for a loan via our website or even a phone call. And, we have become quite proficient at closing loans through our first lane drive-up. Mortgage rates remain at all-time lows, and if you have equity in your home, you may want to tackle those larger home projects with a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit! Rates are great, too, for vehicles, boats, campers, motorhomes and more! Learn more and check out our rates right here on this website.
One other reminder: Protect your information from fraudsters as they are out in full force, working to take advantage of increased digital users. Your financial institution will never call to ask for information on your credit or debit cards, including their expiration dates and PINs. Neither would we call to ask for online banking credentials, account numbers, social security numbers or secure access codes. If you receive a questionable call, do not give out your confidential information. Rather hang up, and call the institution at their public number.
Lastly, if you are experiencing or anticipating financial hardship, and are worried about making your credit card or loan payments, please contact us at 715-359-7012. We welcome working with you to proactively consider payment options during this time.
Loan Payment Assistance
If you are a Brokaw Credit Union borrower experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, please contact the credit union now. We have options to provide payment relief that may allow you to avoid delinquency and its resulting damage to your credit score. Please contact us today to discuss these options. The sooner we can work together, the more options we have to help you through.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
We’ve had some questions about whether or not BCU is participating in the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offering potentially forgivable loans to small businesses to pay employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Because BCU is not a commercial lender, we are not participating in the program, however, we understand this government program may be of benefit to our small businesses. If you are looking for more information, and to find a participating lender , please visit https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find
Update 4/18/20: As of April 16, the $349 billion authorized for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act has been exhausted, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) is no longer accepting applications for PPP loans. Members of the government have encouraged Congress to enact more funding for the PPP, but Congress has yet to do so. Financial institutions may independently decide whether they will still accept applications or keep a queue of those received but not yet submitted to the SBA.
Economic Stimulus Payments
Here are a few highlights from the IRS' site https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know regarding these payments:
- Eligible taxpayers who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return will automatically receive an economic impact payment.
- Social security recipients who are not required to file will automatically receive an economic impact payment.
- Some taxpayers, who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the payment.
- Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 (up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns) will receive the full payment of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples) and up to $500 for each qualifying child; for filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced or not provided.
- The IRS will calculate your payment on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever was filed last.
- The payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, in the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online; otherwise individuals will get checks in the mail.
- If you have not yet filed a required 2018 or 2019 return, do it soon, and include direct deposit information.
- The IRS plans to mail a letter to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid, providing information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center for ongoing information.
To provide immediate relief, for the month of April 2020, we are:
- Waiving late payment fees on consumer loans*, credit cards* and non-secondary market mortgage loans*
- Waiving Share Certificate and Christmas Club early withdrawal penalties
- Continuing to waive phone transfer fees.
*All contractual loan terms apply.
Your Money is Safe
For member protection, we have implemented a policy of $2,000 maximum cash withdrawal per day. This is because:
- Your funds are safe. Your credit union accounts are federally insured by the NCUA to at least $250,000.
- Online and Mobile Banking are available to obtain balances, transfer funds, and make payments.
- Cash is risky. If you’re robbed, or if the money is lost or destroyed, it is not insured and cannot be replaced.
- There’s no shortage. BCU has plenty of “liquidity” – funds available to pay depositors and make loans.
- Don't click on links from sources you don't know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.•Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you do not recognize. These attachments can contain malicious content, such as ransomware, that can infect your device and steal your information.
- Be leery of emails or phone calls requesting account information or requesting you to verify your account. Legitimate businesses will never call you or email you directly for this information.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Always independently verify that any requested information originates from a legitimate source.
- Visit websites by inputting the domain name yourself. Avoid using websites when your browser displays certificate errors or warnings. Certificate errors can be a warning sign that something is not right with the website.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there's been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don't let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don't do it.
- Be alert to "investment opportunities." The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
Access to your Accounts
BCU, as an essential service, remains open and available for your financial needs. Here is a list of ways to either talk with us, or have remote access to your accounts. Don’t worry if you have never used our digital services before; we are happy to share how they work, and help you set them up when you call (715) 359-7012.
Though lobby service was suspended as of Thursday, March 19, 2020, our drive-up remains open regular hours. Note that the first drive-up lane may take longer as some servicing will be performed through that window.
Staff are onsite and taking calls. We are available by phone Monday-Friday by calling 715-359-7012, and appointments are made when necessary. Otherwise, you can choose to email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text us through our website at www.brokawcu.com. (Please note that emails and texts are generally returned only during regular hours.)
While BCU continues to serve other Shared Branching credit union guests, each Shared Branching credit union determines its own accessibility. To find out whether Shared Branches are open, visit the network locator or contact the branch directly for more information.
For those who may wish to avoid mailed statements, you can learn more about how to enroll in e-statements here.
Obtain balances, transfer funds, make loan payments anytime. Enroll in Bill Pay to pay bills electronically. Enroll or access online banking at the right, top of our home page. You can also monitor your credit score and receive a free credit report. Learn more.
Download the “Touchbanking” App by Fiserv on the App Store or Google Play. Not only do you have quick access to account information, and the ability to make transfers, you can deposit checks remotely. Learn more.
If you need cash, our ATM remains available, and is wiped down routinely.
If you do not have a VISA® debit card providing electronic access to your checking you can complete an application to return, contact us at 715-359-7012, or stop by our drive-up to request one.
Lobby Access Suspended
As of Thursday, March 19, 2020, lobby access is suspended to support the effort of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Our Drive-Up, ATM, Online Banking and Mobile Banking services remain available as normal. Please call 715-359-7012; our staff is here, and our phones are being answered.
Our annual meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 24 has been postponed. You will be notified when a new date has been determined.
We will continue to provide you up updated information. Please check back, or see our facebook page for the latest information. As always, our members, our communities, and our employees are our top priority.