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Coronavirus relief: Eastern Bank offering $10 million to support nonprofits, small businesses and families

Eastern Bank and the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation have announced more than $10 million in funding to assist communities grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation will target $3 million in financial support to area nonprofit partners focused on COVID-19 relief, according to a news release.

Meanwhile, Eastern Bank has created two loan funds that will provide $7 million to its individual and small business customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Of that $7 million, the Consumer Impact Loan Fund will provide $2 million in lending to local individuals and families and the Small Business Impact Loan Fund will provide $5 million in lending to small businesses, the statement said.

The charitable foundation’s $3 million commitment will go to communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, supporting regional community organizations, nonprofits that assist with food security, small businesses with a focus on small businesses of color and across the community healthcare system, the statement said.

That commitment is in addition to the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s already-planned $10 million in community support for the year.

“The levels of disruption, uncertainty, and resulting stress our community, local economy, and we as individuals and families are experiencing are unprecedented, and Eastern is making a substantial commitment to offer our support and provide relief where we can,” said Bob Rivers, the chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “When so many are facing such widespread negative impacts, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is focused on helping our community partners do what they do best – providing critical skills and services to the community where they’re needed most.

The loan programs we are announcing are designed to help customers experiencing financial hardship during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

Eastern is providing $100,000 to each of 10 regional community organizations for a total of $1 million in support.

Those organizations include The Boston Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund, City of Boston Resiliency Fund, Cape Cod Foundation Strategic Emergency Fund, Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund, Essex County Community Foundation Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, Foundation for MetroWest Emergency Relief Fund, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Greater Lowell Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Community Crisis Action Fund, and the United Way COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

Eastern is also giving $500,000 to more than 80 food banks and is providing $10,000 to each of 41 community health centers working on the front lines of the virus outbreak, for a total of $500,000 in support.

With the Consumer Impact Loan Fund, customers can borrow up to $5,000 with low interest and flexible repayment terms, with 0% interest and no payments for the first three months and a low fixed rate of 3.99% thereafter, the statement said.

Customers can borrow up to $25,000 with the Small Business Impact Loan Fund, which has low payment and flexible terms, with interest-only payments for the first six months and a low-interest rate of 3.99%, according to the statement.

For other customers of Eastern Bank, the country’s oldest and largest mutual bank, clients can request refunds including overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees, and monthly maintenance fees. There are also increased ATM and debit card cash withdrawal limits and increased mobile deposit limits.

The bank has also paused foreclosures, evictions, and repossessions, among other measures.

More information on the Loan Funds and all of these programs can be found at easternbank.

com or by calling 1-800-EASTERN (327-8376) or contacting heretohelp@easternbank.com.

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