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Upstate CU advocates, U.S. Rep. Timmons share perspectives on pandemic support and recovery

Thursday, July 2, 2020   (0 Comments)
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U.S. Rep. William Timmons (R-SC4) (highlighted) comments on credit unions' statewide impact during the League's Monday, June 29 virtual advocacy event.


The Carolinas Credit Union League took an early opportunity for consistent advocacy in this holiday-shortened week, gathering South Carolina credit union advocates for a virtual conversation with U.S. Representative William Timmons (R-SC4) at 10 am on Monday, June 29. Seven participants spoke for credit unions that are based in or provide service in the 4th Congressional District: Carolina Foothills FCU, Greenville FCU, SC Telco FCU, and SC State Credit Union.

League President/CEO Dan Schline welcomed the group and summarized South Carolina credit unions’ work for small businesses and members in the current environment, including support for securing Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, more than 17,500 payments extended on consumer loans in excess of $454 million, and $1.2 million in waived fees.

While each has taken unique and often case-by-case approaches to member relief, most have seen a relatively limited percentage of members requiring it, with a slowdown in ongoing need. They also found opportunity in helping small businesses whose loan applications were overlooked by banks.

“We had to jump into the PPP because businesses were getting bypassed, and we were tired of seeing that happen,” Carolina Foothills VP of Engagement Terri Hendrix said. “Minority businesses were not getting anywhere. In the second phase of PPP, about 50% of ours were minority businesses, 42% were female-owned, and 24% were minority-female-owned.”

Fortunately for those and others, the Upstate credit unions were able to help with loans ranging from $3,000 to averages of $12,000 for Carolina Foothills and $40,000 for Greenville Federal.

“I appreciate your leadership and support,” replied Rep. Timmons, who shared his perspective on the CARES Act and what the months ahead will bring, including a fourth phase of relief legislation toward the end of July. “It’s important not only to you and other lenders, but also to small businesses to provide some forgiveness.”

In open discussion, Rep. Timmons and credit unions discussed the financial climate and potential post-COVID issues, including loan payments coming due and assessment of whether payment issues reflect bad debt or temporary impairment with potential to recover. Participants assured that, while continued deferments are not their first choice of use, their capital levels are healthy and members are their priority.

They also discussed evolving methods including e-signatures and e-notaries, leading Timmons to suggest direct contact with Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott on the possibility of addressing those in “Phase 4” relief legislation. Timmons is optimistic for the current opportunity to push technology in improving society’s efficiency, and for the South Carolina Upstate and the Southeast to recover well.

“These opportunities for direct discussion with our elected officials are invaluable for gaining and providing perspective, particularly in this period of change and evolution,” League President and CEO Dan Schline said. “By keeping our relationships strong, we continue to share credit unions’ hard work and what they see from members and small businesses, and in return get our leaders’ broader view of what they see now and in the future.”

The League thanks all who participated for their time and contributions to the virtual conversation.

Credit Union Leadership:

  • Carolina Foothills FCU CEO Scott Weaver and VP of Engagement Terri Hendrix (Spartanburg)
  • Greenville FCU CEO Paul Hughes and COO Brian Sponaugle (Greenville)
  • SC Telco FCU CEO Brian McKay (Greenville)
  • SC State CU CEO Jim Kinard and Chief Retail Services Officer Daniel Harms (Columbia).

The League continues to monitor the legislative environment and seek similar opportunities for engagement among credit union advocates and elected officials. For questions or concerns on the latest advocacy issues, contact CCUL Advocacy.

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