Westbury-based credit union NEFCU began offering low-interest hurricane relief loans this week, contributing to the relief effort after superstorm Sandy devastated parts of Long Island.
NEFCU members will be able to apply for loans of up to $20,000 on one percent fixed interest for a year. After a year, the loan will revert to the regular interest rate the customer would've received on the day of the loan application.
Eligibility for the hurricane relief loans, as well as the interest rate the client will receive after the one-year period, will depend on credit history, said John De Ieso, NEFCU's chief information officer.
"These .?.?. are designed for relief, they were not on the shelf before .?.?. we wanted to go above and beyond in this time of need," De Ieso said.
The loans are for individual customers, De Ieso said, adding that the credit union is working with its business customers on a case-by-case basis to offer customized solutions. NEFCU services 150,000 individual customers across Long Island and about 500 business clients.
Non-NEFCU members can open an account with the credit union with a $5 deposit and apply for the relief loan immediately. Only Long Island residents — with the exception of parts the Hamptons and some islands — can join NEFCU.
De Ieso added that the loans would be especially helpful for Sandy victims who cannot wait for insurance payout and need money immediately to buy essentials — such as an oil burner, furniture, warm clothing — or pay contractors for services like tree and mold removal.
The credit union is also offering a one percent discount on auto loan interest for members that buy used cars from Enterprise Car Sales, in addition to 90 day payment deferrals for all existing loans.
NEFCU is planning on going mobile to reach its customers with the hurricane relief initiative. On Tuesday, representatives from NEFCU set up a satellite location on Long Beach — one of the hardest hit areas following Sandy.