September 2, 2020
Dear Farm Credit East Customer:
As summer winds down, I wanted to provide you with on update on your cooperative. We’re pleased that our region has continued on its positive trend as it relates to the coronavirus and we hope to see that trend continue into the fall. We continue to monitor developments in each of the states we serve and will adjust our business practices to best serve members while ensuring the safety of staff and customers.
Farm Credit East offices
Given the continued uncertainty of the coronavirus’s course into the fall, we will continue with reduced in-office staff capacity through the remainder of the year. This means half of our team will be in the office and the balance will work from home, but our team remains committed to providing the best possible customer service.
Staff are permitted to visit up to two customer operations per day. Additionally, customers are able to visit our branch offices by appointment. As an additional reminder, all visitors must wear a face mask for the duration of their visit and meetings will be kept to assigned meeting spaces that are regularly sanitized.
Ultimately, we want to meet with you on your terms, whether that be in person or virtually. Be in touch with your Farm Credit East representative to schedule a meeting however you feel most comfortable.
Protect yourself from identity theft
We’d like to remind our customers to protect yourselves against cyber scams. While Farm Credit East has been fortunate to have no direct incidents, there are increasing reports of identity theft, especially as they relate to unemployment applications and COVID-19 relief programs.
Another common technique of scammers is to impersonate someone you know, like your Farm Credit East representative, to get you to click on a malicious link or download malware. Often you can tell that an email is fraudulent by hovering over the email address to see who it’s really from. If you’re unsure or have questions about an email from Farm Credit East, always check with your local office to make sure it’s legitimate. This month’s Knowledge Exchange Partner includes information on cybersecurity and there are some additional resources on how to protect yourself available on our website.
Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your accounts for suspicious activity or fraud. Contact your Farm Credit East representative if you have any cause for concern.
Our Knowledge Exchange team, tax and business consultants continue to stay up to date on federal and state relief programs and tax law changes relevant to ag businesses. Visit our regularly updated COVID-19 resource page at FarmCreditEast.com/ResourceHub to stay informed.
Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness
The Small Business Administration continues to finalize the details of the Paycheck Protection Program’s loan forgiveness procedure, and while we do not recommend customers apply yet, the Farm Credit East team stands ready to assist customers in preparing to apply. Weekly PPP Q&A sessions continue to be held on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. to provide any new information and prepare producers for the loan forgiveness process. These sessions are open to any business that received a PPP loan. Visit FarmCreditEast.com/Webinars for more information.
Fall Customer Meetings
To protect the safety of our staff and customers, we have decided to transition our fall customer meetings to a virtual format this year. We’re planning an engaging program to connect with you and provide an update on your cooperative. Details for this mid-November meeting will be forthcoming.
As we head into the fall, there is much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. However, if there’s anything to be learned from these past few months, it is that Northeast producers are resilient and adaptable. And as Farm Credit East has exemplified, your cooperative has the tools and capacity necessary to continue to serve your business needs and remain your trusted financial partner, no matter what the future holds.
Michael J Reynolds
Chief Executive Officer
Farm Credit East, ACA