Operations Update – COVID 19Published
Operations Update – Friday, May 22
At your Cherokee Strip Credit Union, we believe that responsible action is our greatest defense against the spread of COVID-19. Upholding that responsibility, we have been exercising an abundance of caution in operations to ensure our continued service to you, and to protect the well-being of all our stakeholders.
We continue to make regular assessments as to delivery options, and while it appears the impact in our service footprint has been minimal so far, the health of some has indeed been impacted – with a few affected tragically. Also, recent guidance suggests we can expect the virus to linger for quite a while, or at least until an effective vaccine or treatment has been approved and administered.
With this in mind, branch lobbies remain closed but we are actively developing a step-up plan to re-open, starting with our East Prospect lobby. You can expect that we’ll share that plan before June 1st, and deploy it soon thereafter.
As we re-open, it’s likely that your lobby experience will look and feel a bit different – and in ways we believe better – which both maximize the efficiency of your time spent with us, and implement new safety and distancing measures to benefit all. That plan may also change over time, as we learn what works best for you and us, and as we also track the forward path and eventual defeat of the virus.
Even with our collective challenges, I’m pleased to report that your Credit Union has remained profitable, with membership continuing to grow both within and beyond Kay County. We remain safe and sound, open for business, with your share deposits federally-insured by the NCUA.
I ask that you continue engaging us remotely, virtually, in our drive-thru lanes, or at our new ATM cash machines whenever you can. It saves you time, speeds up your day, and also keeps our costs down which benefits all Members. Remember that we’re here to help during these trying times, with our latest Operations Update on our website. If you have a question we haven’t answered, email us at email@example.com and we’ll get that answer. Also, our Member Dashboard (below) includes quick links to get you where you need to go. Finally, check this out to help you steer clear of fraud.
We’ve been working extra hard for you, and you’ve been extra patient with us. Thanks for that. As we collectively move forward, rest assured that we’ll continue to take steps we believe necessary to Protect Our Cooperative, and to help get us all back to a more normal way of life.
Speaking of normal, remember that this Monday is Memorial Day. We’ll be closed to honor military service members, veterans, and their families, with both our drive-thrus back open on Tuesday. Have a great holiday, stay safe, and be well.
President & CEO
Operations Update – Friday, April 3
Did You Know ?
* Scammers remain busy. Recent social media posts promise medical or housing grants from bogus agencies such as the “US Emergency Grants Federation”, but are simply attempts to steal your personal information. Others have received calls saying they qualify for coronavirus stimulus payments worth thousands of dollars, but must pay an upfront “processing fee” to receive the money. Still others get calls or texts from crooks pretending to be from a financial institution, saying their stimulus payment has arrived but cannot be processed until they verify account information. DO NOT ENGAGE. Government agencies don’t communicate through social media, never request a processing fee, and are listed at www.grants.gov if they actually provide grants. And as long as you’ve filed your 2018 or 2019 tax returns, your pending government relief should arrive automatically – by direct deposit to the account IRS already has on file for your tax refunds, or as a check mailed to your home – with no action needed on your part.
* While we don’t process business relief loans through the Small Business Administration, we do have a Pandemic Assistance Program that is helping many in our community. Learn more right here.
* If we’re able to defer your Consumer Loan payment through our Pandemic Assistance Program, rest assured you won’t have to write a large check as soon as the national emergency is over. We’ll simply move that payment to the end of your term – so if your loan was originally scheduled to mature in March 2023, that would change to April 2023.
* If you’re in a jam and have a loan with us, our friendly Resolution Specialists are ready to listen at (580)718-4052.
* We may be able to drop your loan payment from anywhere else, by applying right here or calling (580)718-4050.
* You can talk to an independent financial coach or housing counselor at (800)777-7526, and that visit is free if you say Cherokee Strip Credit Union referred you.
Operations Update – Monday, March 30
Beware Government Relief Scams
During this national health emergency, Congress recently approved direct relief payments that could total up to $1,200 per individual, and up to an additional $500 for each child in your household.
If anyone contacts you asking for more information in order to process your direct payment, or to speed it up somehow, simply hang up the phone or delete that email. Do not engage.
As long as you have filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return, the IRS already has all the information they need to get you these direct payments, and in the same way you normally receive your tax refunds or make tax payments – by crediting your bank account or mailing you a check.
Operations Update – Thursday, March 26
Reminder – Drive-Thru Only, starting today
If you’ve seen my previous updates, stop reading – you’re all caught up. If you haven’t, or just want a quick recap right now, click on the “Frequently Asked Questions” link. Either way, thanks for your active engagement, patience, and membership in Cherokee Strip Credit Union.
Also remember that Evan, our financial advisor with Polaris Portfolios, is available to discuss the current financial markets. He can be reached at either (580)718-4058 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get his voicemail, please leave a message as he’s very busy right now, but never too busy to help you.
Stay safe and be well.
President & CEO
Operations Update – March 25
As I shared last week, we make a daily assessment of service and delivery options during this national health emergency. Based on the latest information available to us, and for your safety and ours, we’ll temporarily close the lobby of both branches effective 5:00pm central tonight, and move to a Drive-Thru Only delivery model. I think it’s safe to assume this will be the case for at least a few weeks.
I’d like to reaffirm that our operations are otherwise normal. We remain safe and sound, open for business, and your deposits continue to be federally-insured by the NCUA. Frankly, your Cherokee Strip Credit Union is financially stronger and technologically better than it was just a few years ago. As such we are positioned well to ride this storm out, as a collective of 9,000 friends and neighbors united in our core mission to Protect, Serve, and Care. We’re also here to help you as best we can consistent with that mission, and have put together a special Pandemic Assistance Program to better navigate these challenging times.
I understand you’ll have many questions about all this. Most answers are right here, and in our Operations Update at www.cherokeestrip.com. If we missed your question, email us at email@example.com and we’ll get the answer. I’ll also keep you updated as things change.
Thanks in advance for your patience. We’ve all got some heavy lifting to do over the next few weeks, but together we’ll get through this stronger and better.
Stay safe and be well.
President & CEO
Operations Update – March 20
Both branches continue to operate normally today, with regular lobby and drive-thru hours. However, our sources indicate that COVID-19 has found its way to Kay County, so it’s possible we may begin to reduce the ways you can visit with us.
Now is a really good time to start using our drive-thru lanes whenever possible, and enter our lobby only as a last resort. If you just need cash, our fresh new ATM machines are fully functional and glow beautifully at night.
Also, do business with us remotely from the safety and comfort of your home. Open an account online right here. If your job has been affected and cash is tight, apply online for our special Pandemic Assistance loan. If you’d prefer to tap into the cash value of your house, apply online for our Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and pay no closing costs. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to access the cash in your Certificate of Deposit without penalty, or to possibly skip a consumer loan payment. For even more, check out our Member Dashboard below.
You can take comfort that we’ll continue to review all options daily given the latest information available. I’ll share more if our delivery model changes. Meanwhile, we thank you for your patience, and your membership. It’s good to have you as an owner in Cherokee Strip Credit Union.
Stay safe and be well.
President & CEO
Operations Update – March 19, 2020
Dear valued Member,
Your Cherokee Strip Credit Union continues to monitor the latest updates regarding corona-virus disease (COVID-19). Although your Inbox is overflowing with messages like this, I did want to take a moment and tell you where we are as your financial institution.
We are Open
Right now our branches remain open, with weekday lobby hours of 9:00am – 5:00pm central and drive-thru access from 8:30am – 6:00pm. Our East Prospect drive-thru is also open from 8:30am – 12:00pm on Saturdays. This may change quickly as conditions warrant, including possibly reducing the hours that we are open, and/or restricting access to the inside of our branches. If we take such actions, understand they are made for the safety of both you and us. Our management team continues their daily assessment of staffing, operations, and potential impacts on both Members and Associates during these emergency declarations. You’re encouraged to watch for our updates by email or visit www.cherokeestrip.com.
We are Available
Last year we expanded the weekday hours you can call us to 7:00am – 7:00pm central, and 7:00am – 4:00pm on Saturdays. Just dial (580)718-4000 and select Option 5 for Member Services, or Option 1 if you’d like our anytime automated phone banking. We also added live text chats to the CONTACT US page of our website, and inside Its Me 247 Online Banking. Once registered for online banking, you’re ready to access and transfer between accounts, quickly send money to anyone, and remotely deposit checks through mobile banking for Apple or Samsung. After downloading our app, simply click its LOCK icon to log in with your online banking credentials. You can also email us for help at email@example.com. We have some of the very best financial technology available, and now’s a great time to take advantage of our virtual superpowers from almost anywhere you are.
We are Careful
Given the latest guidance available, we are postponing our 87th Annual Meeting scheduled for March 30, 2020. As conditions improve, we’ll reschedule that. Meanwhile, our 2019 Annual Report reflects another solid year for your Credit Union.
We are Cleaning
Our custodial team has expanded their services – including new intra-day wipedown of high-touch surfaces, and the use of enhanced cleaning solutions. You’ll smell bleach from time to time, and that’s a good thing. You’ll see more personal sanitizers, and less-cluttered workstations that reduce potential exposure surfaces. We’ve also provided the latest CDC guidance, sanitation, and safety resources to our Associates, and will continue to do so as we or they may recommend. Finally, we ask that you practice social distancing while visiting us, and we’ll do the same for you.
We are Helping
If you’re a Member in good standing whose job or business has been temporarily affected, we may be able to help with a low-cost Pandemic Assistance Loan or a consumer loan payment deferral. We’re also waiving early withdrawal penalties on all Certificates of Deposit, and offering a very special Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) with no closing costs – a great way to access your home’s cash value. If you have a loan somewhere else, bring it by and see if we can do you better. If you have a neighbor who is experiencing financial uncertainty, invite them to stop by too.
We are Vigilant
Cyber criminals are working overtime, with many pretending to be from the CDC or other health agencies. One email link currently making the rounds promises the latest USA contamination map, but instead places malware onto your computer. Don’t open emails/links/attachments from sources you don’t know or expect, do verify as valid the website addresses that you visit, and don’t share confidential information over the phone unless you’ve made the outbound call for help to a vendor you already trust using their phone number that you know to be correct. Never share a card number, account PIN, or a password. You can check out the Federal Trade Commission’s latest advice to protect yourself from scams. If you want to learn more about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s resource center. And if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, get home and call the Oklahoma State Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at (877)215-8336 – they’ll take your information, brief you on next steps, and likely come to you for testing.
We are Thankful
Thanks for the trust you’ve placed in us – we appreciate that, and don’t take it for granted. While others may be pulling back, we’re moving forward and reaching out to help you navigate through this challenging time. With a little extra patience and understanding, we’ll collectively and successfully move past this national emergency – and all be a little wiser to boot.
Stay safe and be well.
President & CEO