Staff from Alliance Credit Union walked through the debris in the troubled city of Ferguson, Mo., Wednesday, asking business owners if they needed a 0% loan.
Alliance decided that it needed to move now to help local shop owners suffering through the daily rebuilding of setting up and restocking shelves, re-boarding windows and cleaning up their storefronts.
"We have done a good job supporting this community over the years, but we wanted to see what we can do for people today," said Alliance human relations director Frank Evans about the community development financial institution. "We want to help out our neighbors, and they have been less fortunate than the credit union."
The $215 million CU's Jennings, Mo., office touches the border of Ferguson and the city of Jennings. This St. Louis suburb has been under siege since Aug. 9, when white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Police began their chase of Brown just outside Alliance's door.
All around Alliance's office in the riots that followed, businesses have broken windows, knocked-down doors, and one is even burned to the ground. But the CU office remains unharmed.
The CU's loan, made out of the Jennings office only, is for local businesses that have been affected by the civil unrest. Loans are for a maximum of $5,000, terms are up to 24 months, and no payment is required for 45 days.
"This can cover the cost of plywood, calling the glass man or paying the insurance deductible," Evans said. "This will give businesses a jumpstart on getting back to normal, but it is hard to tell when that will happen."
Reports indicate that Tuesday night protests were less confrontational than in recent days, with no shootings or Molotov cocktails. However, 47 protesters were arrested and threats were made to kill a police officer.
Evans agreed that from the Alliance's vantage point, tempers calmed a bit Tuesday night.
"Yesterday seemed a little more quiet," he said.
"But you still see the same cycle: You get up in the morning and clean up the streets, midday the peaceful protestors assemble, and then as day gives way to night things become unpredictable," Evans said. "It's just our new reality."
That is what Evans said has settled into the mindset of residents.
"There is no telling when this will be over," he said.
"I remember when all this started saying, 'Oh my God, this could go on for two to three days. I'd be really happy now if that is what had happened," Evans said.
Reports indicate that the civil unrest may continue until some decisions are handed down by authorities about Brown's shooting. A local grand jury is expected to hear evidence about the incident Wednesday.
Edward Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, told USA Today that local investigators have interviewed Ferguson police officer Wilson, and he will be "offered the opportunity" to testify if he chooses.
The case will be presented to a regular grand jury that already has been seated, Magee told the newspaper.
The panel has a few weeks remaining in its current term, he told USA Today.
Magee told the paper that he doesn't know how long it will take to present the case.
A federal inquiry is also under way.