Vancity offers zero-percent loans for six months to small businesses and self-employed pivoting due to pandemic

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      Canada's largest credit union has once again stepped up to offer no-interest assistance to those feeling financially beleaguered by COVID-19.

      Today, Vancity unveiled its "Unity Pivot Business Loan" of up to $150,000 to support businesses that are changing direction either to fight the pandemic or to adapt to the new economic environment.

      These loans are interest-free for six months.

      An added bonus: there's no requirement to make any payments in the first six months, either.

      To be eligible, a business must have been operating for two years and been profitable prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

      Vancity also announced a "Unity Bridge Loan", which is available to those who've been self-employed for more than two years and who have a payroll lower than $20,000. It also charges no interest in the first six months.

      The two programs are being funded by the "Unity Term Deposit", announced last month, and will be capped at $50 million.

      “It is inspiring to see the business community change direction and move to action in response to COVID-19 to support those on the frontlines, as well as wider society," Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman said in a credit union news release. "It takes courage and innovation to do so, and Vancity is here to help businesses with that spirit.

      “Vancity’s relief programs for small businesses build on the supports already in place from the provincial and federal governments," she continued. "When the country gets through the worst of this pandemic, small businesses will play a significant role in helping to drive our economic recovery. Now is the time to support these businesses as they get creative and change course in efforts to meet the challenge of this pandemic head-on."

      Earlier this month, Vancity announced that it has temporarily cut its credit card interest rate to zero percent for those in economic difficulty due to COVID-19.

      Vancity has more than 543,000 members and 80 branches. It oversees $28.2 billion in assets, including those under administration.