BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced programs to provide additional financial flexibility to customers who may face financial hardship due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus.
Effective Wednesday, March 18 for an initial 30-day period, Berkshire Bank is offering the following enhancements to all of its customers:
• For retail banking, consumer loan, and mortgage customers, the bank is increasing daily debit-card spending limits, waiving penalties for early CD withdrawals up to $20,000, and offering an option to forbear consumer and mortgage loan payments for one to three months.
• For small-business customers, the bank is increasing daily debit-card spending limits, waiving penalties for early CD withdrawals up to $20,000, and offering the ability to leverage specific options for consideration to forebear the loan.
“We understand that COVID-19 and the necessary precautions we are all taking to prevent its spread have begun to impact members of our community in meaningful ways,” said Richard Marotta, CEO of Berkshire Bank. “In addition to these initial steps to provide our customers financial flexibility, we will continue to explore additional ways to support our customers and neighbors during this difficult time. As a committed member of our community, we understand how essential it is that we all work together at this time.”
Berkshire Bank is actively engaging with partners like the Massachusetts LGBTQ Chamber and the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, among others, to provide funding assistance to small businesses that are most impacted by the financial implications of the pandemic. “We are exploring ways to provide a unique selection of low-interest rate solutions underwritten by our community partners. We intend to set aside $3 million in available capital to support this effort,” Marotta said.
In addition, the Berkshire Bank Foundation has earmarked an incremental $500,000 for small-business grants to help businesses that do not have the ability to pay.