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CU System
Wisconsin CUs prepare to assist GM employees
JANESVILLE, Wis. (6/6/08)--With the recent announcement that General Motors is closing its assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., some area credit unions are preparing to assist the roughly 2,600 displaced workers. Blackhawk Community CU (BCCU), a $288 million asset Janesville credit union, counts many General Motors employees and retirees among its members. It has five branches, three of them in the city (The Janesville Gazette June 5). BCCU is considering ideas to offer new products and services to help displaced workers, Frank Beres, BCCU marketing director, told the newspaper. “There are a lot of ideas being kicked around right now,” Beres told News Now. “The thing we need to keep in mind is that the plant is not closing tomorrow. It will take about two years for it to shut down, although some General Motors suppliers are already facing layoffs.” BCCU is looking at instituting financial checkups in which members come in to see where they stand financially right now, such as with their net worth situation, he explained. “In the short term, for the members who are slated to be laid off, we would provide them with budget tips, loan consolidations, and assist them in making decisions now that will help them in the future,” Beres concluded. Although it is not doing anything specifically geared to the GM workers, the Janesville branch of First American CU, did send out a letter to affected members when the first layoffs were announced, Tracy Blaske, First American CEO, told News Now. First American is a $253.3 million asset, Beloit, Wis.-based credit union. “We just told them, ‘We are here,’” Blaske said. “We review financial situations on a case-by-case basis, and tell members to come in [if they are having financial difficulties]. We don’t have a lot of United Auto Workers as members. We have about 150 total members from General Motors and ancillary companies. “We are anticipating an impact from the layoffs. We will do deferrals on payments and refinancings on loans on an individual basis,” she concluded.
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