It's not a loan forgiveness plan, but Iowa Falls State Bank is hoping a new program put in place this week will ease some of the stress caused by the spread of COVID-19 and the shutdowns that have been put in place to slow that spread.

On Thursday, the bank launched a COVID-19 Loan Deferral Request Program. Approved applicants will receive three months of payment deferral on such things as vehicle or personal consumer installment loans. This program does not apply to real estate mortgages or business/ag loans.

“You pay basically nothing for three months, but it’s not a forgiveness because you’re going to have to pay it later,” said Doug Truex, the bank's president. “What this does is give people time to recover from these effects that are hopefully over in a short term way.”

Truex added that the program, like many others popping up in the last two weeks, shows that it takes a village to care for a village. This, he said, is IFSB’s piece of that caring and helping.

“We know people are hurting,” Truex said. “This is our way of just recognizing that we’re all in this together. We’ll get through it, and the bank is here to help.”

The process begins with a few simple questions at www.ifsbank.com on the COVID-19 Loan Deferral Request form page. All fees for deferring payments will be waived and participation will not affect credit scores.

And while loan contracts will run longer than originally scheduled, interest will continue to accrue on the unpaid balance and the total amount paid may be greater than the original loan, Truex said this program offers a real advantage to those who need it.

“People who are financially distressed because of all this can focus on groceries, or rent, or just making ends meet a little bit better,” Truex said. “It’s one less burden for somebody who’s already feeling short. We don’t know where all this is going, but we’re here for our customers. We’re talking to them about where they need help.”

Truex recognizes that the program is a piece of the puzzle that continues to add pieces. It, along with everything else going on to support citizens and business, is important for getting through it.

“Everybody is working so well together in the community, and there seems to be a really good spirit going right now,” Truex said. “I’m guessing there will be more of a community effort, if this continues to drag on, for the community to come together and come out stronger on the other end.”

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