3 min read

Weathering the storm during COVID-19

By Jim Risko on Apr 2, 2020 3:47:02 PM

The global pandemic has brought many changes to our community. As we settle into our new "normal," whether it's school closures, social distancing measures, or job loss, what is certain is the ripple effects of COVID-19 will continue for some time.

One thing our Members can count on amidst the uncertainty is that as a values-based credit union, PenFinancial is always committed to improving the lives of our members and strengthening our communities. This turbulent time is no different.

Many Members have lost their jobs, have reduced hours as they care for children with school and daycare closures, or have experienced major impacts on their investments flagged for their future. No matter what is happening, there are still bills to pay, lights to keep on, and food to put on the table. If you are struggling, we want to help you find the peace of mind that comes with knowing your finances are taken care of. We care. We are here to help. Together we can weather this storm.

Here are a few tips for making it through this stressful and ever-changing situation:

Register for available public programs and supports

In Ontario, the federal and provincial governments are implementing supports for individuals and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the situation develops, these programs and supports are also evolving. You can find information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), employment insurance and sickness benefits, and other special benefits through the Government of Canada Economic Response Plan site. Canadians are encouraged to apply through their CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account. Don't wait. These programs are there to support you and your family through this challenging time and should be used to help minimize financial hardship.

Assess your budget, prioritize expenses, and reach out

These are emotional times. It's scary to lose your job, your childcare, or face uncertainty. There are so many changes happening, and many of them will affect your finances. That's why it is so important to look at your situation and assess your needs calmly. Stay pragmatic. Look at your expenses before and during this crisis and adjust your budget. What is essential? Where can you reel in a bit? We've created a budgeting tool to help you through this process. Download the budgeting tool >

Once you've fine-tuned your budget, if you feel you need additional support or advice, reach out to our PenFinancial Advisor. We are available to meet with you and develop a personalized plan to balance your budget while you navigate difficult times. Advisors are committed to working with Members to find the best solutions available for their long-term financial health, like deferring payments on your mortgage or loan, or accessing sources of other funds through like savings or credit.

Please reach out to your Advisor or your local branch as soon as possible so we can discuss your situation and how we can support you through these uncertain times. Appointments can be made online at penfinancial.com or by calling your branch.

Take a deep breath and believe

Fear and panic will not help us to meet the challenges ahead; finding the support you need will. You can trust PenFinancial to look out for your needs, and trust that your money is safe with us too. Credit unions have a long history resilience and supporting our Members during difficult times. You can also trust, with added reassurance, that your deposits with us are insured for up to $250,000 under certain registrations, and for unlimited coverage on registered deposits. You can learn more about this credit union specific advantage on the FSRA website.

We've had some changes to how our branches operate in the response to the pandemic. We may have to help you in different ways, such as by phone or by video conference, but we are here for you - you can get the most up to date information at penfinancial.com/covid-19. Rest assured that our community will weather this storm – we can rely on each other. We'll come out of this stronger together.

Jim Risko

Written by Jim Risko

After attending Northeastern University in Boston, I returned to Niagara to begin my career in financial services. I’ve been fortunate enough to put my ‘service-first’ approach into action for over ten years in my role as a Financial Advisor, and now dedicating my time to coaching our amazing Wealth Team at PenFi. Helping members through a variety of stages and situations is something that I take great pride in and has provided me the experience needed to support our members.