According to an edict from the governor of the state, businesses in Oklahoma have been classified either essential or non-essential. Included in the essential category are "Finance and Insurance" businesses, of which credit unions are considered.
Many places which our members normally visit have been labeled non-essential and have closed during this extraordinary situation. We have modified some of our operations, but we want to ensure our members that credit unions are considered essential and that we are available to them through our drive-thru services, digital services and via phone communication.
According to the executive order, essential businesses are those defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which includes categories like financial services, healthcare, food, agriculture, and transportation.
Non-essential businesses have been defined in the state as bars, gyms and movie theaters. Those businesses must be closed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among employees and customers. You can see the full list of what is considered essential and non-essential on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce site.
Credit unions are considered essential and will remain open for business. However, in order to protect members and employees, some branches have temporarily closed, and others have instituted drive-thru service only. Many call centers maintain their normal hours but check with your bank or credit union to determine their hours.
Even if you don’t make an in-person visit to your financial institution, there are several options available for digital banking that will give you control and access to your accounts without having in-person contact. Some of the options include online banking, online bill pay, mobile banking, and mobile deposits.
Financial institutions remain essential and credit unions are a key component of that category because keeping your money in a credit union in one is one of the safest financial options possible. Each member's accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund and Oklahoma Central offers excess share insurance for another layer of protection.
Establishing essential and non-essential businesses is a key part of helping to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, reducing the number of people out in public and assuring that those in need are able to continue to get necessities and access their financial records. Community-focused credit unions play a role in helping to maintain a level of normalcy during these trying times.
These are unprecedented times creating unique situations for everyone, from businesses to families to health-care workers. Our credit union is considered 'essential and critical' and we remain committed to supporting our members' financial needs and assuring their financial well-being.