power station and generator for Ukrainian CUs L: The chief accountant of Credit Union KhKVD in Kharkiv displays a power station purchased with WFCU grant dollars. R: A generator purchased by Credit Union Taystra in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. (Photos: WFCU)

As Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine approaches the one-year mark, Ukrainian credit unions are struggling to maintain normal operations. Due to Ukrainian military personnel being exempt from paying interest on their loans under martial law, credit unions are feeling the pains of lost interest income. In addition, Russia’s attacks have disrupted Ukraine’s power grid, leaving many businesses, including credit unions, without electricity. And as a result of poor economic conditions in the country including rising inflation, Ukraine’s credit unions are having trouble keeping up with basic operating costs.

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions is helping to ease these burdens with new grant programs specifically designed to address these three areas of need: The Servicemen Interest Compensation Program, Covering Operational Expenses Program and Alternative Power Sources Program. WFCU distributed a total of $355,000 to Ukrainian credit unions in December 2022 through the new grant programs:

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.

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