As COVID-19 continues to present new challenges, I am encouraged to see how we are navigating this together as a community and continuing to support one another in innovative ways. Credit unions are some of the top financial institutions used by small businesses in Canada, with 97.9% of all Canadian businesses being classified as small businesses. As many small businesses are facing significant economic challenges as a result of physical distancing protocols and shut-down orders, supporting them is crucial for our clients and for our economy.
INNOVATION AND AGILITY TO EXPEDITE CEBA LOAN REQUESTS
On March 28, Central 1 was approached by several of our clients to help them quickly enable their small business customers with the ability to apply online for the Government of Canada’s recently announced Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program. CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to eligible small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs. In just ten days, our teams worked to ensure the agile implementation of this vital feature on our MemberDirect® and Forge digital banking platforms. Our first clients successfully launched their online CEBA applications on April 8th and several others have since followed.
ADVOCATING FOR ALL OUR CLIENTS
While the CEBA online application form was being developed, we recognized there were several credit unions and smaller financial institutions who needed to become EDC-accredited in record time – an aspect of criteria needed to offer the CEBA program.
Alongside the CCUA and other centrals across Canada, we worked as a system with the EDC and Finance Canada to effectively define processes, requirements, agreements and reporting needs to ensure that all credit unions have the ability to offer the CEBA program for their eligible small businesses and not-for-profit members.
Our MemberDirect® and Forge digital banking platforms have processed over $230 Million in loans and thousands of small business applications through CEBA. Throughout this health and economic crisis, our organizational purpose has never been clearer: we power progress for credit unions and financial institutions to enhance the financial well-being of all Canadians. I am extremely proud of how our system came together to support small businesses through this stressful period.
With this fast-changing global situation, there is one thing I am sure of: we will navigate through this together with innovation, courage and agility, to come out stronger. Our team at Central 1 is here to stand with you, and to provide you with support and innovative ideas to help you transform and enhance the digital banking experiences of your members and customers. Together, we will get through this.