Saint Louis, MO – Finding multilingual experts with the cultural training and professional experience necessary to provide health and social services for refugees and immigrants is exceedingly difficult. As a result, it was of the utmost importance for Bilingual International Assistant Services (BIAS) to receive a loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to continue providing its needed assistance throughout the pandemic.
“Providing paychecks for our employees means we can provide essential services, especially trauma-focused care during the pandemic. Our goal is to ensure our clients continue on their path to becoming healthy, productive members of their communities,” said Jason Baker, Ph.D., Executive Director.
Established in 2002 by stateless refugee women, BIAS is as diverse as the clients it serves. Fluent in 15 different languages, BIAS employees provide multilingual social services, mental healthcare, immigration and naturalization services, and advocacy and education to over 3,000 immigrants and refugees annually in the greater St. Louis region. Many of those served are survivors of torture and war trauma.
“We strive to help our clients and their families achieve a better life in the U.S. However, there are challenges. Many of our clients live well below the poverty level in underserved communities, and access to informational resources and critical supplies is lacking, especially with COVID-19,” added Baker.
BIAS was introduced to Together Credit Union after its bank started to charge additional service fees for multiple transactions in a month. Together Credit Union offered BIAS a business account with more than 300 free transactions per month, and set up payroll direct deposit for its employees. The relationship continued to strengthen between the non-profit and the credit union thanks to Lisa Morgan, Assistant Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer.
“When the SBA announced the Paycheck Protection Program, we worked very hard to ensure our business members interested in applying had the support necessary to complete their application packets thoroughly. We worked with BIAS to have its application ready and prepared before the SBA began accepting applications for Phase 2. BIAS was approved and had the funds needed to continue their important work,” said Morgan.
PPP loan funds provided massive relief for BIAS employees and their clients. During COVID-19 pandemic, BIAS has expanded programming to meet the emergency needs of immigrant/refugee families and older adults, including daily deliveries of food, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment in St. Louis City and County. To learn more about Bilingual International Assistant Services, please visit
About the Credit Union: Together Credit Union is currently serving as the lender for 300 SBA-approved PPP loans totaling more than $9.5 million. Learn more about Together Credit Union’s Business Banking »