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The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession has disproportionately hit minorities especially hard, prompting a first-ever fund that Inclusiv will use to financially support its member credit unions in those communities.

Inclusiv, a network of 300 credit unions that serve minority communities, announced the Inclusiv Resilience Fund on June 18. The financial institutions behind the fund are Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Capital One Financial Corporation and Prudential Financial.

"Starting early in the COVID crisis, we saw that our member credit unions were really immediately stepping up to provide relief and support to their members," Ann Solomon, vice president of strategic initiatives at the New York-based Inclusiv, said. "We thought those credit unions would need grant support to be able to continue to provide that relief as economic recession continues."

The first wave of funding will distribute $625,000 in grant support, with a deadline of July 10. The fund will begin providing grants of up to $20,000 each to credit unions with fewer than $100 million in assets. Solomon said credit unions could use the grants for a variety of expenses like technology needed for remote working, operating costs, digital banking or emergency loans for their members.

She noted that many credit unions had been providing loans under the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, which provides COVID-19 relief for small businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

But that stimulus package is soon coming to an end.

"That program is about to close with the SBA, but a lot of borrowers will need to go through the loan forgiveness process, so credit unions have been walking their business borrowers through that, and that's ongoing for several months," she said.


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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Class Actions: Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.