League urges governors to ensure credit unions are on "essential services" lists
Thursday, March 26, 2020
COLUMBIA and RALEIGH—With governors across the country issuing progressively restrictive orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Carolinas Credit Union League this week sent letters to Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper, Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster, and state and county leadership asking that credit unions and other financial services providers be included as essential services in the event either governor follows suit.
The action was especially timely as developments today include a growing list of North Carolina counties and municipalities now in varying levels of restriction. While there is currently no state-level requirement of documentation for employee travel to provide essential services, the League will post list updates and any necessary procedure on its COVID-19 page.
As of Monday, citizens in California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania were under shelter-in-place orders. In the Carolinas, Govs. Cooper and McMaster had restricted businesses' walk-in traffic, and most credit unions already had moved to enhanced drive-thru service and in-branch business by appointments.
The purpose of the communications from League President and CEO Dan Schline was to assure that those services—consumers' essential need for access to funds—would be documented as such so they remain available under emergency orders.
His letter to Cooper, which also went to NC House and Senate leaders, also expressed concern that Registers of Deeds Offices (RODs) that have not adopted e-closing services or have severely limited hours have disrupted normal business activities, including many home sales in process at the onset of the pandemic. Those services remain key to the real property process and could help many seeking savings or to avoid further hardship amid the pandemic.
Schline further provides in both letters the confirmation by US Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that consumer and commercial financial services are already among the National Critical Function Set established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The League stands ready to assist the governors with any particular need and remains connected with state agencies including regulators on evolving conditions, including any that can affect credit union service.
"Credit unions’ top priority at this moment is keeping their members, volunteers, and employees safe and healthy," Schline states. "Remaining in a position to serve members during and after this crisis will help local communities maintain long-term financial security."