Some financial institutions were forced to close after the stock market crash in 1929 as panicked customers pulled out all of their money.
While some Iowans are overreacting during this pandemic — snapping up and hoarding toilet paper, for example — Andrea Dose, director of member services at the Iowa Credit Union League, says most people are staying calm when it comes to their checking and savings accounts.
“Have we heard of some folks taking some cash withdrawals, yes,” Dose says. “Have we heard that now that we’re entering a ‘new normal’ that that is lessening, yes.” In addition to the stress it causes the financial institutions, she says it’s just not a wise practice to take out stacks of cash. If something should happen to that money, if it’s lost or stolen, it’s likely gone for good.
“Every credit union in Iowa is insured so your deposits are safe. Your insurance goes up to $250,000 and even more for joint accounts,” Dose says. “If you have questions about your insurance, never hesitate to reach out to your credit union.” In this era of social distancing, credit unions are still able to serve drive-up customers while meeting others at the door of the building.
Online banking, she says, is flourishing as many people want to avoid leaving their homes. “While these times are extremely unsettling and everybody copes with stress differently, we have no reason to believe that this is going to impact our power or our connectivity to our credit unions,” Dose says. “You have access to your money in new ways that we hope consumers are getting familiar with.”
Interest rates have plummeted in recent weeks, making this an ideal time to buy a house, refinance your mortgage or buy a car. Dose says don’t let fears about COVID-19 keep you from pursuing those dreams. “Loan demand is high right now with the interest rates being so low,” Dose says. “There are several different channels in which you can do that, many of which are online. There are also some ways that credit unions are closing loans via social distancing measures, so, sitting across a long desk.”
More than 1.3 million people are Iowa credit union members.