By Matt Jenkins, Chief Operations Officer
2020 was a challenging year for all. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve remained committed to being of service to our customers and offering them assistance with any financial hardship they may be facing. And now, as the number of COVID cases increases and the economic impacts of the pandemic correspondingly surge, it is more important than ever that we remain vigilant and proactive in offering solutions to customers who need help.
To support the financial health of our community, we have been actively working with customers who are facing financial challenges to easily and conveniently enroll in a hardship program—and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This includes extending or offering additional deferrals or reduced payment plans to impacted customers.
In total, more than 112,000 customers have enrolled in our hardship program since the start of the pandemic. And we know our customers are hardworking and resilient, as most have come out of deferral and resumed making their regular payments. We are continuing to make additional deferrals available to customers because we recognize that hardships are on the rise as the virus surges again.
Last year, we proactively introduced and continue to offer the following services:
- Payment deferrals, reduced payment plans, and waived fees for customers facing financial hardship
- A one-click deferral process that ensures customers can easily enroll in our hardship program by simply replying to an SMS message
- Suspension of all legal collections
- Making our loans more affordable by capping our APR at 35.99%
- Encouraging customers to interact with us online or by phone and waiving third–party payment fees for all customers to ensure they have access to multiple payment locations and digital options
- Offering all customers free, personalized financial coaching as well as access to helpful local resources in both English and Spanish through our community program partners
- Sharing information on how to avoid fraud and gain access to free resources available in their community
- Following applicable regulatory requirements, including the CARES Act, regarding credit reporting for those customers who informed us they have been impacted by the pandemic
We understand that customers and our communities have suffered from the pandemic, and we will remain vigilant in supporting our customers through this difficult time.