COVID-19 Update: The Latest on Financial Markets, Banks, Travel, Charities, and More

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, below is a roundup of the latest announcements from our region, state, federal government, and international channels. Starting today, our coverage includes ways local industries, businesses, and organizations are responding to the virus. We’re also sharing information about new and expanded digital offerings. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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Announcements continue to be made regarding the coronavirus. // File photo

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, below is a roundup of the latest announcements from our region, state, federal government, and international channels. Starting today, our coverage includes ways local industries, businesses, and organizations are responding to the virus. We’re also sharing information about new and expanded digital offerings. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message here.

Financial Markets
TreppWire reports: U.S. stocks sold off sharply on Monday as coronavirus headlines continued to emerge around the world. In addition to COVID fears, investors seemed rattled by the Federal Reserve’s bond purchase and rate cut announcements on Sunday evening. The reaction from stockholders led to a huge dip in U.S. stock futures Sunday night and losses to the equities on Monday.

The Dow plunged nearly 3000 points (12.9 percent) on Monday, wiping out all of the gains along with the optimism that came with Friday’s late-day rebound. The S&P 500 dropped 11.9 percent and Nasdaq tumbled 12.3 percent.

Yields on long-dated Treasuries fell sharply on Monday following four straight days in which rates had drifted higher. The yield on the 10-year dropped 21 basis points to 0.73 percent yesterday. The yield on the 30-year also declined 21 basis points to 1.10 percent.

In addition, on Friday the Trump Administration declared a national state of emergency, which grants access to $50 billion in response and preparedness efforts against the coronavirus. Those funds are now being distributed at the state level.

Airlines, Travel, Resorts and Tourism
The headlines for the airline sector have been daunting for the past week. On Monday, President Trump said the federal government “had the airlines backs,” and that some form of support would likely be implemented. Given the situation is so fluid, a bailout isn’t expected soon as the federal government and its partners at the state and local level work to curtail the spread of the virus and develop a cure.

In the latest news, Reuters reported The Boeing Company “confirmed it is in talks with senior White House officials and congressional leaders” as the company’s stock dropped 24 percent on Monday. Boeing “said late Monday that ready short-term access to public and private liquidity will be one of ‘the most important ways’ for airlines, airports, suppliers, and manufacturers to recover.”

In addition, Reuters reports Boeing and Airbus are facing difficulties in delivering planes to airlines, which are attempting to defer deliveries and payments as they do “everything possible to preserve cash as air travel plummets.”

At the same time, cruise ships have been greatly impacted.

Closer to home, everything related to travel in Michigan has been impacted. On Monday, Treetops Resort in Gaylord closed all resort operations, which means the 2019-20 Snowsports season will come to an end. The resort plans to resume operations for hotel and lodging, Spa and Salon, Child Care, and Food and Beverage on Monday, April 6 unless things change.

Individuals who had lodging reservations during this time period will be contacted to arrange cancellation or rescheduling. Check with other resorts for related information.

In Detroit, due to a lack of drivers, the Detroit Department of Transportation will not be offering bus service today.

Oil Markets
Reuters reports, “Oil prices fell below $30 a barrel on Monday,” and Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia “reiterated plans to boost output to record levels to boost its share of the global market.” According to Reuters, “The coming flood of supply from Saudi Arabia and other producers could result in the largest surplus of crude in history, said global information provider IHS Markit. Brent crude settled down $3.80, or 11.2 percent, at $30.05 a barrel. The international benchmark fell as low as $29.52 a barrel, its lowest since January 2016.”

Banks and Credit Unions

Many banks have implemented limited service offerings to prevent the spread of the virus. As one example, Flagstar Bank in Troy today announced new health standards to help keep the community safe, while providing access to essential financial services.

The bank, effective today, made the decision to limit interactions in a majority of branches. The changes support recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to practice social distancing, while giving customers access to their finances.

To help with the transition, Flagstar Bank said all drive-up banking service will be open at branches that offer that option. Designated branches will continue to provide full in-branch services. For most every bank and credit union, visit a respective website to get details on branches that will maintain in-branch and drive-up services.

Overall, banks and credit unions are encouraging customers to take full advantage of online and mobile banking services. The offerings can be accessed from anywhere, 24/7. It remains the safest and most effective option for banking needs.

In related news, TCF Bank in Detroit announced Monday it is lowering its prime rate to 3.25 percent from 4.25 percent.

Michigan
The state of Michigan’s small business entrepreneurial support organizations have joined forces with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to ensure economic support is available to Michigan businesses to overcome anticipated loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 virus, the organizations announced today.

On Monday, the state informed the U.S. Small Business Administration that it is seeking an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state and has initiated the process to receive the declaration from SBA. That application process is expected to be completed this week.

Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the SBA to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The MEDC is also encouraging businesses and communities throughout the state to learn more about its wide range of tools aimed at assisting Michigan’s small- and medium-sized businesses. In particular, the MEDC Access to Capital programs can provide greater availability of working capital during times of growth, change or economic uncertainty. To support businesses and communities during this unprecedented time, the organization will also be evaluating virtual matchmaking and other enhancements to programs such as its International Trade, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Pure Michigan Business Connect, PlanetM, and Match on Main Street programs.

The MEDC call center is operational to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website: MichiganBusiness.org or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for additional information.

For more information about the impact that COVID-19 will have on small businesses and how to help them better prepare for this economic impact, visit the Small Business Development Center’s FAQ page here. Information around the outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8AM – 5PM daily.

Charities and Nonprofits

Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park reports that it continues to provide nnutritious food to community members in need. As a responder for emergencies, the nonprofit organization is maintaining its operations to ensure that food reaches members of the community needing assistance.

The organization is working with its partner network to provide food at many service sites throughout Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Forgotten harvest also has a response team in place to establishing contingencies if the situation escalates.

For the latest Forgotten Harvest information and other ways you can help please check, including making a donation, visit the Forgotten Harvest COVID-19 Response page here.

Unemployment Claims
Unemployment claims that result from job loss or reduction related to COVID-19 can be filed online here or by calling 1-866-500-0017.

Impacted workers were formerly required to appear in-person at a Michigan Works! service center but that requirement has been waived because of the public health emergency. Customers are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment to slow possible virus exposure to the public and employees.

Customers should make an appointment for services related to RESEA notices and required participation programs, such as PATH – Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope, and the Food Assistance Employment and Training program.

Until further notice, all workshops, job fairs, orientation sessions and other group activities at service centers are suspended.

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