Eastern Bank is pouring $10 million in funding, both in loans and charitable donations to nonprofits and food banks, to help residents and businesses affected locally by the new coronavirus pandemic. 

The bank's charitable foundation will target $3 million in financial support to area nonprofit partners focused on COVID-19 relief, while Eastern Bank has created two loan funds that will provide a total of $7 million to its individual and small business customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus crisis, bank officials announced. 

"Banks care and we care a lot," said Eastern Bank Chairman and CEO Bob Rivers in a telephone interview Wednesday. 

He pointed to schools being closed and children who depend on meals being provided at schools and daycare programs.

For that reason, Eastern Banks Charitable Foundation is  providing $500,000 to 80 food banks including The Greater Boston Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank and New Hampshire Food Bank. 

Another $1 million from the bank's charitable foundation is earmarked for regional community organizations that are essential to identifying the most acute community needs and mobilizing their resources to address them on the ground quickly.

Those organizations include the Essex County Community Foundation Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Community Crisis Action Fund, Greater Lowell Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and the United Way COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

Also, Eastern Bank 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.

Eighteen community health centers in Greater Boston and 23 regional community health centers across other communities Eastern serves are receiving grants.

"The needs of community health centers are overwhelming. We wanted to make sure we were supporting them," Rivers said. 

Eastern Bank also has the Consumer Impact Loan Fund with $2 million available for lending to local individuals and families, and the Small Business Impact Loan Fund for $5 million in lending to small businesses, officials said. 

Under the provisions of the Consumer Impact Loan Fund, customers can borrow as much as $5,000 from the $2 million loan fund for existing individual customers need, according to information provided about the fund. 

The loans with be low interest and flexible repayment terms, with zero percent interest and no payments for the first three months and low fixed rate of 3.99% thereafter.

The Small Business Impact Loan Fund is a $5 million loan pool for "for existing customers in need of working capital to help fund their operations," according to the statement. 

Customers can borrow up to $25,000 from that fund, with low payment and flexible terms, interest only payments for the first six months and low interest rate of 3.99%. 

On an individual basis, bank customers can request refunds for overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees, and monthly maintenance fees.

You can also request increased ATM and debit card cash withdrawal limits and increased mobile deposit limits. And penalties for early CD withdrawals of up to $50,000 are waived, according to information provided by Eastern Bank. 

Eastern Bank will also allow deferral of mortgage and other loan payments, including late charges, as needed, 

Foreclosures, evictions, and repossessions have also been paused, bank officials said. 

Businesses can request refunds for overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees, and monthly maintenance fees.

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.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 



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