On behalf of Tower’s Board of Directors and Senior Management team, I want to thank those of you who participated in Tower’s Annual Meeting on May 12. This was an unusual year, as we chose to host the meeting virtually instead of in-person to protect the safety and health of our members and employees. I thank you for watching the online meeting and I hope you found it informative. If you were unable to join us, here is Tower’s 2019 Annual Report.
Similar to last year, a formal election for Tower’s volunteer Board of Directors was not required, as the number of candidates approved by the Board’s Nominating Committee equaled the number of vacancies on the Board. Thank you to Pankaj Belani, Allen Brisentine, Marie Rowland and Tom Woods for your willingness to serve another term on the Board and to help continue to guide and direct our credit union. I have also renewed my term on the Board of Directors, and will continue to serve as Board Chairman.
My first year as Chairman has certainly had its challenges, especially in the unprecedented events of the last few months. I want you to know that as we continue to navigate these uncertain times, one thing remains constant: Tower’s commitment to putting our members first. More than ever, we remain focused on providing resources to serve our members’ needs.
Since early March, Tower has received thousands of hardship requests and we have helped every member in each case with loan payment deferrals, financial assistance or counseling. We are committed to being here for our members in their time of need. We will continue to do everything we can to provide relief to those affected by COVID-19.
Other things we are doing to help provide temporary relief include automatically waiving the minimum payment due for Tower credit card members through July, with no penalty fees. (Some restrictions apply, please contact us for details.). And we are waiving early withdrawal penalties on Share Certificates for expanded access to savings.
I’m proud to say that Tower has remained 100% operational and available throughout this crisis. Our branches are open to serve our members’ essential financial needs, both through in-person appointments and at our drive-up locations. Our employees have made hundreds of financial wellness check-in calls to provide support and resources for at-risk members. We are working early mornings, late nights and weekends to meet our members’ needs during this crisis.
We are grateful for our 500+ employees who are working tirelessly to continue to provide exceptional service for our over 191,000 members. The safety of our members and employees remains our primary concern. In addition to requiring face coverings and enforcing physical distancing, we have installed new protective Plexiglass shields in our branches and germ-resistant tube canisters at all of our drive-up locations.
We have provided expanded teleworking options and sick leave for employees, and awarded appreciation bonuses to our frontline staff and those who are not able to work from home.
As a local credit union, we have provided support for the community. The TowerCares Foundation donated $75,000 to area food banks to help restock shelves depleted by the increased demand. The donation was made in honor of Tower’s dedicated employees. To support those working on the frontline in our community, Tower donated 410 N95 face masks to the Laurel Regional Hospital Center and provided funds for the Hospice of the Chesapeake to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE). Tower also donated $2,500 to Rebuilding Together Howard County (formerly Christmas in April), to help provide much-needed home repairs for elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners.
Lastly, I want to reassure you that Tower remains well capitalized and financially strong. For over 65 years, we have navigated many ups and downs and stand ready to serve you during this difficult time and beyond. Through it all, we are here for you. If you are experiencing financial hardship, contact us. And please continue to take advantage of our online and mobile banking so that you can manage your accounts, deposit checks and more safely from home.
I hope you and your family are staying safe. More than ever, we remain focused on providing support for those who need it most, ensuring employee safety, and serving our local community. For the latest information and assistance programs, please continue to visit our COVID-19 resource page.