Transamerica started a new initiative to help its retirement plan customers navigate the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The company’s five-step CARES Act Customer Support Initiative was “designed to help both retirement plan sponsors and their employees manage through this difficult and complex time,” it said Tuesday. The five steps all took effect immediately and include:

  1. The waiving of all retirement plan fees associated with coronavirus-related distributions until further notice.
  2. No charge for any plan amendment fees needed to implement the new CARES Act provisions for those retirement plan sponsors who use Transamerica’s pre-approved document.
  3. The establishment of a dedicated team to support participants who are considering accessing their long-term retirement savings to meet their short-term financial challenges related to the coronavirus.
  4. Transamerica Retirement Solutions issuing a detailed summary of the new CARES Act to help retirement plan customers and their financial professionals navigate the new legislation. Transamerica held a series of 60-minute webinars educating plan sponsors, advisors, consultants and third party administrators on the CARES Act. Transamerica has also outlined the necessary steps for plan sponsors to implement these provisions, offering their employees peace-of-mind that they can access their retirement funds if necessary, it said.
  5. The Transamerica Aegon Foundation contributing $500,000 to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization, to support health care workers in coronavirus relief efforts.

Goldman Sachs Is “Harnessing” Its Resources and Experience

Noting that the global coronavirus pandemic is “putting extraordinary pressure on all of society,” David Solomon, Goldman Sachs CEO and chairman, said at his firm’s website that it “has a responsibility to help.”

During the firm’s recent global virtual town hall, it addressed “some of the ways we are harnessing our resources and experience to do what we can,” he said.

“For our clients, we are focused on bringing to bear the full scope of the Goldman Sachs platform,” he said, adding: “One way we are doing that is in our consumer businesses, where we are supporting our customers by allowing them to skip their next month’s payment on Apple Card or Marcus loans without accruing interest. We’re prepared to extend that policy as the environment continues to evolve.”

From the firm’s own research, it is aware that “small businesses are most at risk from the economic disruption posed by the coronavirus,” he said. With that in mind, he said: “We’ve made progress on a small-business stimulus package that will provide capital and other resources to small businesses to help them weather the crisis. We’ve announced two commitments thus far, in New York and Chicago, partnering alongside clients to fund emergency loans that support these businesses’ operations and their employees. And we’re working with other cities across the U.S. and around the world to expand our efforts to help small businesses.”

However, the “front lines are in health care,” he said, adding: “Recognizing the urgency of need, our firm has donated nearly 600,000 masks, accumulated over time after 9/11 and previous epidemics, to the National Health Service in the UK and to hospital systems in New York, New Jersey and across the country. We’re also engaged with ventilator manufacturers and others in the supply chain to try and accelerate delivery of these life-saving devices to places where they are needed most.”

Goldman Sachs is also “working to ensure our collective giving is impactful,” he said, pointing out it launched a $25 million global relief fund through Goldman Sachs Gives to support health care organizations, front-line responders and hard-hit communities. And, “to further encourage giving toward COVID-19 relief efforts, we’ve established a special matching gift program for our people, where we will match employee donations $25 or less three-to-one and larger contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $5 million,” he noted.

First Command’s New Relief Programs

First Command, a financial services firm serving military families, is offering COVID-19 relief programs for clients including loan assistance, payment relief assistance, penalty-free early CD withdrawals, secured lines of credit and special handling of credit card accounts that will increase cardholders.

The relief programs are being offered through the company’s First Command Bank subsidiary and were “designed to provide military families with immediate relief that allows them to bridge the short-term financial gap and maintain their long-term pursuit of financial security,” the firm said.

“Potential disruptions faced by military families may include furloughs without pay, unexpected expenses caused by a permanent change of station (PCS), deployed troops returning home to empty refrigerators and unplanned medical expenses for family members due to the virus,” it noted.

First Command’s relief programs include:

  1. Loan assistance, with 6-12 month single-pay loans available to clients who qualify at a reduced rate. No monthly payments are required, and the principal and interest are due in one payment at the end of the term.
  2. Payment relief assistance for eligible credit card and consumer loan clients, with First Command Bank offering deferments of monthly payments.
  3. Penalty-free early CD withdrawals, with First Command Bank waiving any bank-generated penalties for early withdrawal.
  4. Secured lines of credit, permitting eligible clients to use their non-tax qualified mutual or managed fund as collateral for a reduced interest rate up to 12 months. Only interest payments are required each month, with flexibility to pay down the principal balance at any time.
  5. Special handling of credit card accounts, with First Command Bank’s Visa cardholders offered priority processing of application requests to increase credit limits and waive cash advance fees.

Salesforce Launches Small-Business Grants

Amid the challenges posed by the current crisis, “small businesses need our help now more than ever,” so cloud-based software firm Salesforce has introduced Salesforce Care Small Business Grants “to help small businesses get the resources they need,” Meredith Schmidt, the company’s executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Essentials, said in a blog post Wednesday.

The Salesforce Care Small Business Grants program “will soon be offering $10,000 grants to U.S. small businesses to provide capital to help them weather this crisis,” she said, adding: “We’ll open the application process to U.S. businesses in mid-April 2020 and international small-business support will be announced shortly, for a total financial commitment of $5 million.”

To learn more and sign up to be notified when Salesforce opens applications for the grants, small business owners can visit https://essentials.salesforce.com/salesforce-care-for-small-business/.