Bowater Credit Union’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response

Updated 2/1/2021

As the coronavirus threat continues to evolve, we are taking proactive precautions to maintain service while keeping employees and members safe.

Our Operations

Bowater Credit Union’s top priority is keeping our workplace safe and free from infection, so that we can ensure the health and safety of our employees, members, and their families, and to continue providing service to our members.

The following additional precautions are being taken:

    • A limited number of members will be allowed in the lobby at one time.
    • No waiting in the lobby to see a Loan Officer, IRA Specialist, or New Accounts Representative. If such an employee is already serving a member in their office, we’ll get your phone number and you’ll be asked to wait in your car until the Loan Officer or Member Service is available and we’ve cleaned and sanitized the office for your protection.
    • If you are wearing a mask, you may be asked to lower it briefly for identity verification.  If we don’t have your ID on file, you may be asked to present photo ID as well.
    • For safety and to prevent long waits, we encourage members to continue to use the Drive-Thru, phone, and online channels as much as possible (see a helpful guide here). If you come to the lobby and your transaction can be done through the Drive-Thru, we may ask you to use the Drive-Thru if the amount of members in the lobby has reached capacity.

     

    • We are still taking appointments for Loans and New Accounts.  Please note that both of those services are also available online. (Loans) (New Members) (Existing members can open new accounts from inside myBRANCH)
    • We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces like ATMs, counter tops, and electronic signature pens.
    • The world’s greatest pens (our Bowater Credit Union bic clicks) will not be in the lobby but clean ones will be available by request, and will be yours to keep.
    • We have removed the suckers from our lobbies; our tellers will be happy to hand you your favorite flavor upon request.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at the door.
    • Coffee service is not currently available in our lobbies.
    • Public restroom are not currently available at any location.
    • We have temporarily removed the children’s play areas from our lobbies.
    • Employees have been provided with gloves and additional cleaning supplies, and have been instructed to maintain social distancing when interacting with others, and to wear a mask when they are unable to maintain six feet of distance.

    We have a Business Continuity Plan in place, which includes pandemic planning. Our leadership team is staying abreast of news regarding the virus and advice from the CDC.

     

    Second Round of Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks) – December 2020

    A second Coronavirus Relief Bill is expected to be voted and signed into action on Monday, December 21, 2020.  It includes direct payments to most Americans, which may come as the last week of December 2020 by direct deposit.  If your stimulus comes by direct deposit to your account at Bowater Credit Union, please be aware of the following:

    – We learned with the Economic Impact Payments in the spring that online banking platforms nationwide, including myBRANCH, were overwhelmed with traffic beyond anything we had seen before, and this led to connection issues to myBRANCH and the App.  This happened at all financial institutions, and we expect similar traffic for this second payment. Our service provider for online account access is aware, and your Internet Service Provider and cell phone data provider are also likely making prepartions, but we expect connection to myBRANCH and the App will be slower than on a normal day.

    – If your direct deposit triggers and “exception” in our system, there will be delay as our team works through the exceptions that day according to the rules established by the Treasury for ACH processing.  Here are some exceptions that may occur and how we must handle it:

    • If the account is closed, we cannot accept the payment and will return it to the IRS.
    • If the account has been charged off due to negative account activity, we can only accept the deposit with the member’s approval to pay the charged off balance. If you know the deposit will come to an account that was closed here due to negative account activity (you owe the credit union money), repaying that money before the stimulus payment comes in will make things quicker for the member to receive their payment.
    • If taxes were filed jointly, both names must be on the account (as both names will be on the direct deposit that comes in).
    • Once a deposit from the IRS has been returned to the IRS (possibly for one of the reasons listed above) we are not able to retrieve it back. You must contact the IRS.

    Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus)

    It is the IRS that determines when payments are made, and we will not know which round you are in until we receive a payment for you. Some people might be getting payments in future rounds. Many recipients will receive payments via check, and those are expected to be delivered over several weeks beginning the week of April 20th. The IRS will have a tool soon called “Get My Payment” where you can track your Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has stated that this website will be live by mid-April at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

    If you receive a mailed check instead of direct deposit, please note that we are unable to accept government issued checks – that includes the economic impact stimulus checks and tax refund checks – through mobile deposit because of endorsement restrictions. We’ll be very happy to provide service on these funds through our drive thrus, which have extended hours while our lobbies are closed.

    Remember: scammers will be looking to take advantage. The IRS will not call you, they will not email you, and they will not text you. If the IRS needs to contact you about your stimulus check, your tax refund, or anything at all, they will use the mail. Don’t follow links in emails, go directly to irs.gov yourself to access information.

    Managing Your Accounts

    The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising the public to stay home when sick, and to practice social distancing. For these reasons, we encourage you to use Drive-Thru, Online, and Phone Service whenever possible. Find a helpful “Where do I go?” guide to services by clicking the blue button.   

    • Use myBRANCH Online Banking. It’s a free and easy way to check your balances, transfer funds, make loan payments, and more, from your desktop or mobile device 24 hours a day. With our mobile app, you can even electronically deposit checks. If you don’t yet have Online Banking, you can enroll online.
    • Use our ATMs. We have an ATM at each branch, where you can withdraw cash, check your balance, and make cash or check deposits in the envelopes provided. Transactions are posted the following business day. We’re also a member of the Allpoint Network, which allows you surcharge-free access to nearly 60,000 ATMs nationwide.
    • Call us at 423-336-7268. Our Contact Center can handle almost any banking need, or transfer you to someone who can.
    • Use our night drops. Each branch contains a night drop where you can make your deposit. It will post the following business day.
    • Use P.A.L. (Personal Account Line) Telephone Banking. If you’d prefer not to use Online Banking, PAL is another 24/7 option to check balances, transfer funds, and make loan payments. The first time you call, your PIN will be the last four digits of your Social Security Number. 423-336-7913.
    • To avoid touching keypads at merchant checkout, use Mobile Wallet, such as Apply Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.  Register your debit card and credit card, and use it when you check out at a mobile-wallet-friendly checkout. It’s fast, secure, and you only touch your own phone and not the keypad or card reader.

    Special Assistance for Members with Financial Hardship

    We are here for you, and we are in this together. If you are facing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact us at 423-336-7268 so we can help. As always, if you believe you will be unable to make a loan payment, contact us in advance of your due date.  You can find many more resources on our Resources for Members page.

    This page will be updated as new information becomes available.   Please follow us on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for updates.

    For Members Who Are Small Business Owners: Paycheck Protection Program

    We do not provide these loans directly, but are happy to announce we have partnered with another credit union to offer this program to our members.  If you’d like to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.