COVID FAQ – Downeast Credit Union


Posted on March 19, 2020 | Special

There is no higher priority to Downeast Credit Union, Downeast Insurance & CULANE than the safety of our members, team members, and community. In light of recent developments with respect to COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are implementing additional precautionary measures and have provided information to help you stay prepared and safe. We will continue to monitor the situation daily so that we can be swift in our response. We will provide updates as needed here and on our Facebook page. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 800.427.1223.

As we work to shift our staffing from lobby traffic to a stronger presence in the drive-thru and phone lines, we ask for your patience. We are working on cross training and adjusting our phone system so that calls ring in to more team members. Options for loan extensions, Skip-a-Payment and Hardship Loans will be available next week (March 23rd); we ask that you please wait to review these details before calling us to request an extension. If your loan is already past due: please call Collections at 207-454-9001.

As an additional reminder, the ATMs are open in all of our branch entryways for those wanting to withdraw money as an alternate option if there is a wait in the Drive-Thru lane.
What is Downeast doing in regards to prevention?
– Lobby access is limited to those healthy individuals making an appointment for service: call us at 800.427.1223 to make an appointment.
– Increased cleaning and sanitizing of workspace and public areas like ATM & Drive-Thru.
– Social distancing when possible.
– Holding virtual meetings as needed and limiting travel.
– Employees working remotely or refraining from coming into the office if showing any symptoms of illness.
How is Downeast prepared for Crisis Management?
Downeast has a Business Continuity Plan in place to be prepared for emergency situations and to prevent or minimize any interruption of service to our members. Our Management Team has been meeting on a regular basis and is prepared to implement different phases of protection for our staff and members as needed.
Is my money safe in a credit union?
Not one penny of insured savings has ever been lost by a member of a federally insured credit union! Credit unions encourage their members to save regularly to build economic security for themselves and their families. Deposits at all federal credit unions and the vast majority of state-chartered credit unions are covered by National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) protection.

Federally insured credit unions offer a safe place for you to save your money, with deposits insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the independent agency that administers the NCUSIF. Like the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, the NCUSIF is a federal insurance fund backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Downeast Insurance reminds you that your funds are safest with a financial institution. Most Homeowner’s Insurance Policies have limits of liability set as low as $200 on cash and $1,500 on securities. For example, if you store $100,000 in cash in your home and it burns down, you may only get reimbursed for the limit set by your Homeowner’s policy, possibly as low as $200.

What options do I have if I’ve lost my job or income due to COVID-19?
Downeast takes pride in helping our members in good times and in bad. We understand that many of us will experience a change in financial circumstances during efforts to contain coronavirus. Downeast is offering Skip-a-Payment programs for qualifying closed-end loans and mortgages, and Hardship Loans.

CLICK HERE FOR DECU’s COVID-19 Financial Assistance program.

If your loan is already past due: please call Collections at 800.427.1223. If all lines are busy, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Tips For Our Members
Beware of Scams
Unfortunately, some people and companies are taking advantage of the fears surrounding the spread of the virus. Do not let fear cloud your judgment when accessing links from emails and social media. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission.
CLICK HERE to view a comprehensive list of Scams relating to COVID-19 compiled by our Internal Operations Department.

Digital Services
For convenience and 24/7 availability, we offer the following digital banking tools, which are easy to use:

Online Banking

Mobile Banking & Mobile Deposit

Debit Card

Credit Card

Mobile Wallet (Apple, Google & Samsung Pay)

ATM Locations (free access through SURF & CO-OP)

Accessing Your Money
All of our branches and services are open (with limited lobby access) and our team is here to continue to serve you. You should always have more than one way to access your money; here are a few ideas to consider:
A Debit Card is a great back-up in case your other cards become compromised or quit working. To receive an Debit Card, call us.
Keep some cash on hand. It doesn’t have to be much, but it’s helpful to have some available during emergencies. A reminder that the funds you keep saved with us are Federally Insured by NCUA to at least $250,000.
If you have only one card or your credit card is maxed out, you might find yourself in a pickle. Always have a back-up!
Online and mobile banking is available 24/7.
To sign up, give us a call, or if you have an email address set up on your account, you can sign up on our website at Online Banking.
If you don’t own a book of checks, it wouldn’t hurt to have some as a back-up.
Deposit checks in the comfort of your own home using your smartphone.
We will continue to conduct certain Shared Branching transactions through the Drive-Thru. Those interested in using DECU locations for Shared Branching are reminded to present us with valid photo identification and are encouraged to use the first lane of the Drive-Thru closest to our buildings for identification purposes. In addition, most other Credit Unions in Maine continue to offer Shared Branching services in their drive-thrus.
**We offer suggestions on accessing your funds through different methods – click here for a quick guide.

So, what can you do to minimize the impact of Coronavirus on your credit standing?
1. Talk to our team at Downeast and other lenders and creditors and see what assistance is available.
2. Pay what you can. Try to make at least the minimum payment on accounts, or pay any amount you and the lender agree upon. This will help avoid having late payments show up on your credit reports.
3. Stay up-to-date on your credit reports. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by visiting DECU’s Secure Checking Account is another option to help monitor your identity and credit.
4. Consider adding a consumer statement to your credit reports. You can add a brief 200-word statement to your credit reports to explain your situation. One example of a consumer statement: “Be advised that the negative accounts on my credit report are related to the Coronavirus. I intend to make these up as soon as I can.”
Saving For An Emergency
Over 53% of Americans don’t have an emergency fund. It can be hard to save because, let’s face it, life happens and emergency funds get used. Don’t give up though. Create a plan to begin saving now. If you need help, come see us. We offer free budget counseling to our members and we have different options to help you consolidate debt and save.
Your Funds Are Safe
We would like to remind you that your deposits at Downeast Credit Union are safe. DECU is well-capitalized and financially strong. Further, your funds are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.
Where can I get more info?
Maine CDC – Information about the virus in Maine.
CDC: Coronavirus Disease – Information about the virus, situation updates, and information for travelers, businesses, and others.
WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak – Daily updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.
DECU Updates – More details on Downeast’s COVID-19 Response
DECU COVID-19 Financial Assistance Offerings – How DECU is helping our members when times get tough