NCUA official seal NCUA official seal. (Source: NCUA)

In an effort to help members through the coronavirus crisis, the NCUA will give credit unions the flexibility to prudently adjust or alter member loan terms and will not subject those decisions to “examiner criticism,” agency Chairman Rodney Hood said Monday.

Hood, in a letter to credit unions, outlined the steps the agency is taking to address the health emergency.

Those steps include requiring all agency staff to work offsite through March 30. All examination work will be conducted offsite as well, the agency said.

“A credit union’s efforts to work with members in communities under stress may contribute to the strength and recovery of these communities,” Hood wrote in outlining steps that credit unions may take to help members.

Those steps include:

  • Waiving ATM fees and increasing ATM daily cash withdrawal limits.
  • Waiving overdraft fees.
  • Waiving early withdrawal penalties in time deposits.
  • Easing restrictions on cashing out-of-state and non-members checks.
  • Easing credit terms for new loans for qualifying members.
  • Expanding payday alternative loan programs.
  • Waiving late fees for credit card and other loans.
  • Offering payment accommodations that would avoid loan delinquencies and might affect a member’s credit rating.

Hood also said a federal credit union can delay its annual membership meeting and that credit union boards can meet remotely, as long as they have one face-to-face meeting each year.

Credit unions also have the flexibility to decide whether to limit their hours or to close, Hood said.

Credit unions do not have to notify the NCUA about branch closures unless there is an interruption exceeding two days.

The NCUA also is requiring staff to self-quarantine and not come to work for 14 days if they have returned from traveling to or have had contact with people who have been in Level 3 countries — those with widespread, ongoing transmission.

Staff also must self-quarantine if they have had close contact with anyone who tests positive for the virus or if they exhibit any symptoms of the illness.