Posted: Monday, May 11, 2020. 2:26 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: St. Martin’s Credit Union (SMCU) in San Ignacio Town, Cayo resumes normal working hours as of today and continues to provide much needed economic assistance to its members to help them cope with the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19.
The San Ignacio branch is now open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., on Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon, and on Saturday from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. The Benque Viejo branch carries a similar schedule but is closed to the public on Wednesdays and opens from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays.
For members with ongoing loans who have either lost their jobs or had their income reduced due to COVID-19, SMCU is providing up to three-months waiver on both principal and interest payments. Raymond Tzul, General Manager of St. Martin’s Credit Union (SMCU) stressed that the interest payment during this three-month period will be foregone and not differed as is practiced by most other financial institutions. Credit Union members of SMCU will not have to worry about those interest payments piling back up at a later date. Members, particularly those who were employed in the tourism sector at the time pandemic struck the economy, can also apply for an additional three-month waiver of principal payments, leaving only the interest to pay. Requests for relief (waivers) are to be done in writing via email ([email protected]) or letter dropped off at the Credit Union office.
“Waivers will be considered on an individual basis and will be given to the most needy. We are asking the members that can afford to pay to still do so, because the less we collect the less we can assist our members who may need relief,” Tzul said.
Saint Martin’s Credit Union is also offering small emergency loans to members of up to $1,000 to assist with expenses during the economic downturn. Tzul noted that members may also be considered for a second $1000 loan in the next couple of months. These loans are also subject to waivers on principal and interest payments as well as the additional three-month principal payment waiver where applicable. Loan interviews are being done by appointment only and members can book their appointments via the Credit Union’s Facebook page or website for member convenience. Interviews for loans are now be done over the phone, so members only need to physically visit the branch offices upon loan disbursement.
“We are here to provide relief and service to our members. Generating a profit is important but we also need to make sure our members are okay. So this is our way of giving back to the members,” Tzul added.
As an additional layer of relief to all members, the $2 fee charged on ATM transactions at other Credit Unions and Heritage Bank ATMs has been waived since April and will continue to be waived until the end of June 2020. Tzul said that the charge will still appear on ATM receipts but that the amount will not be deducted from the member’s account. Members of the Credit Union are encouraged to utilize the many ATMs across the country connected to Network One (Credit Unions and Heritage bank) to access their funds and reduce having to go the branches. If they do not have an ATM card, members can always request for one free of charge.
In compliance with the ongoing state of emergency regulations, Saint Martin’s Credit Union is only allowing 10 persons inside their offices at a time, and social distancing must be practiced for those in and outside the building. Tents and chairs are provided for those waiting outside and only person conducting transactions are allowed inside the buildings. Sanitizing of hands before entering as well as use of face masks are mandatory before entering the premises.
The General Manager also indicated that the upcoming annual general meeting normally held towards the end of May has been postponed until further notice due to social gathering restrictions. Members are encourage to utilize Facebook messenger, email, contact us page or telephone numbers to contact any of their offices.
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