USAA CEO Wayne Peacock. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

USAA followed a Sunday report of a coronavirus case among its San Antonio employee population with an announcement the company will donate $1 million to local nonprofits supporting response to the outbreak.

In a letter to employees on Sunday, CEO Wayne Peacock said a USAA staffer had tested positive for COVID-19. But the individual, who works in the San Antonio office, is currently out of state receiving medical care.

The small number of identified employees who had previous significant exposure to the affected person have been notified, Peacock stated. The employee had not worked at the USAA campus since March 6 and was not experiencing symptoms at that time.

“Our immediate concern is with our affected employee and their family, and we are currently assisting them,” said a company spokesman.

On Thursday, USAA told 25 percent of its total 34,000 employees nationwide they should plan to work from home starting Monday. The company employs 19,000 people in San Antonio.

The CEO’s letter to employees urges those who have already begun working remotely to remain at home “until further notice.”

The company closed at least one of its financial centers, in West Point, New York, and is screening all visitors to USAA offices. Fitness centers and cafeteria self-service lines on the San Antonio campus are closed.

Starting Monday at 3 p.m., the USAA Federal Savings Bank in San Antonio began limiting service to customers only through its drive-through lanes and drive-up ATMs only. Face-to-face teller service has been suspended.

Due to school and day care closures, USAA also told employees they would not be required to use paid time off to care for family members, through April 30, and the company is providing up to two weeks of emergency pay for employees unable to work from home due to the nature of their jobs.

In addition, USAA is contributing $1 million to help San Antonio organizations provide food, housing, blood, and other essential support to residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Considering the enormous challenges from this health emergency, we know our local community needs help, especially those organizations serving our most vulnerable residents,” Peacock stated. “We have been in close communications with local nonprofits to understand their specific needs in responding to this pandemic.”

The nonprofits include the San Antonio Food Bank, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, Meals on Wheels, Haven for Hope, and United Way of San Antonio.

In late February, the Food Bank began doubling up on its food distributions for people in need, said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, which feeds 58,000 people a week in its 16-county region. That’s causing them to go through their food inventory faster.

“USAA is known for taking care of people and disasters and they wanted to really get behind an effort that can help meet basic needs,” Cooper said. “It’s been allowing us to procure food and trucking and purchase food, and bring in the resources that we’re needing, to distribute to families. It’s given us the confidence to stock up those families.”

During the crisis, USAA also will match employee donations of up to $500 to nonprofits.

Founded and headquartered in San Antonio since 1922, USAA is a $31 billion insurance and financial services company that serves primarily the military and military dependents.

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is a journalist and writer in San Antonio, and a business reporter for The Rivard Report.