Julie Herzog, MA, MFT, has been a local licensed marriage and family therapist serving clients from Bonny Doon to Salinas for almost two decades. When the pandemic hit in 2020, she knew she needed to be there to help her clients deal with the trauma and chaos that accompanied it.
“As a sole proprietor of my own business, I wear every hat, from scheduling to admin to providing the direct services, and the last several years have been pretty tough, especially the last couple years with the pandemic, the fires, and feeling really stretched.”
— Julie Herzog, MA, MFT
Ms. Herzog had many clients lose their jobs and their benefits, but also found the need for her services more than ever. “I had to support the case load for people that had previously gone from weekly sessions to every other week to once a month suddenly back in need of weekly sessions because of the fires, the pandemic, political issues within their families and community, and so on,” she said.
Ms. Herzog wanted to ensure she could sustain her business and provide support to her clients and the community. At the same time, in her words, “I was worried about how I could continue to support myself and my practice if people didn’t have the means to pay, as abandoning them was not an option.”
As a long-time member of Bay Federal Credit Union, Ms. Herzog noticed an ad on their website advertising SBA (Small Business Association) Payment Protection Loans. She thought this could be a solution that could put both herself and her clients at ease, possibly allowing her some income so she could continue to serve the community.
For Ms. Herzog, choosing Bay Federal was a no-brainer, as she already had a relationship with the Credit Union, and contacted Bay Federal’s Business Relationship Manager, Jeff Heitmann. “I wasn’t going to build a new relationship with some other bank,” she said. “Bay Federal is the only place I bank, so I contacted them and got in touch with Jeff.”
Ms. Herzog said that Jeff made the experience incredibly easy. “He immediately responded and was so helpful and transparent,” she said. “When I felt overwhelmed, he broke it down for me and really walked me through the entire process.” The process was easier than she expected it to be, which she believes is because she went through Bay Federal, and not the SBA directly as a couple of her colleagues did. “Hearing their process compared to mine seemed way more challenging,” she said.
When Ms. Herzog saw the loan hit her account, it immediately brought her peace of mind and a sense of relief. “When the deposit hit my account, it was as if I had been making the deposits from my clients that I hadn’t been able to make all along,” she said. “I got to take a little breath seeing the money land in my account. I was thinking ‘I can pay my mortgage, pay PG&E, do all these things I needed to do while continuing to serve my clients.’”
Ms. Herzog was so impressed with her experience that she recommended the program to some of her good friends and colleagues. “I told them that I know their tank feels totally empty, and this would be a perfect solution for them,” she said. “Jeff jumped right in and helped them right away, and they were so grateful.”
Looking forward after the experience, Ms. Herzog feels “cautiously optimistic” that things may start to get back to normal soon. “It feels better; now that people are getting re-employed, it seems there is a little more stability in our community,” she said. She also recommends to her clients, and the community in general, to take advantage of resources and find institutions or organizations that are ready and willing to help, like she did when she saw the PPP loan ad on Bay Federal’s website.
If it’s a pride thing or an ego thing, shelve it for the moment and deal with that another time, and ask for help
“In my individual sessions, I remind people to resource themselves,” she said. “It was so important for me to remember to check Bay Federal’s website to see if they were offering something to help. BayFed is so good at placing their programs front and center when they are available.” One final piece of advice that Ms. Herzog wants to convey is to remember is that it’s alright to ask for help if you need it. “If it’s a pride thing or an ego thing, shelve it for the moment and deal with that another time, and ask for help,” she said with a smile.
Bay Federal has a wide variety of support options for their business members, including merchant card services, credit cards, and other business services. They also have a host of free financial education resources, including a partnership with Greenpath Financial Wellness, which provides confidential counseling and help with debt, credit, budgeting and more. For all of the details about Bay Federal Credit Union’s services, visit their website or one of their local branches today.