WaFd Bank’s executive team.

November 12, 2020

AZ Business Magazine

WaFd Bank Arizona donates $20,000 to Extended Hands Food Bank

On November 10, WaFd Bank Arizona donated $20,000 to Extended Hands Food Bank through its WaFd Foundation granting arm. The WaFd Foundation‘s purpose is to facilitate direct giving to community-based nonprofits serving low- and moderate-income individuals’ needs.  Over the past 12 months alone, the local team has been able to give over $160,000 in local grants through the Foundation, and a total of over $2 million across its eight sate footprint.

“Banks – and bank leaders – are in a unique position in times of crisis. Many times a crisis can or will have a financial impact,” says Mike Brown WaFd Bank Arizona president. “WaFd Bank, by virtue of our strong capitalization and market strength, is uniquely positioned to help our clients and our communities in this time of uncertainty.”

Extended Hands Food Bank was founded in Fountain Hills in 2004 when Pastor David Iverson found out that the local Fountain Hills food bank was going to close. Since 2004, the demand for the food bank has continued to increase as more and more.  According to Extended Hands, Arizona’s hunger rates are higher than national averages:

• 17.8% of Arizonans are food insecure, compared to 15.9% nationally

• 28.2% of Arizonan children face hunger, compared to 21.6% nationally

“No one ever wants to be put in the position of choosing to pay the mortgage or put food on the table, but that is what commonly happens. Right now, people need to come together to help each other,” says WaFd Bank Fountain Hills branch manager Marianne Pinter, whose team has volunteered for the food bank for many years. “When we met with Pastor Iverson and heard about their great need, we were motivated to action in every way we could.”

This is one of many ways in which WaFd Bank Arizona has stepped up for the local community in recent months.  

“Upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented a Small Business Lifeline program through our Community Banking Group. This Lifeline program, in which we allocated up to $100 million dollars, was designed to help affected clients and non-clients by providing liquidity through business lines of credit up to $200,000 with 90 days of 0% interest,” says Brown.

In addition to the Small Business Lifeline program, WaFd Bank implemented other payment relief assistance programs to help our clients that were not eligible for the small business program. This included those that have consumer mortgages with WaFd, as well as its commercial banking clients.

“We also recognized that many small businesses were in immediate need of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, so we established the WaFd Bank PPP contact reservation list that allowed us to notify customers as soon as the PPP loans are made available,” says Brown, noting that in Arizona alone, the bank provided 912 PPP loans totaling $88 million during the first months of the pandemic.

According to Brown, WaFd Bank also created a COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Deferral Program, which was a homeowner assistance program allowing monthly mortgage payments to be deferred for three months.