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Press Release

Empower Retirement Waives Fees on New Loans and Hardship Withdrawals

Issued by Empower

Apr. 2, 2020

April 2, 2020 -- Empower Retirement is waiving fees on all new retirement plan loans and hardship withdrawals in an effort to support the financial needs of American retirement investors resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak and the related fallout in the economy.

Empower will not charge origination fees on any new plan loans and will suspend charges for all hardship withdrawals. These changes cover all tax-qualified workplace retirement plans administered by Empower that permit such distributions, and include new provisions allowed for under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

"We must do everything we can to accommodate the immediate financial needs of our customers," said Empower Retirement President and CEO Edmund F. Murphy III. "Some are already in financial distress right now and need access to their retirement savings to support their loved ones. We are taking these steps to help those families."

The historic downturn in the financial markets and related economic uncertainty, coupled with elevated jobless claims reported by the Department of Labor on March 26, may foretell high levels of demand for loans and hardship withdrawals over the next several months.

"Empower serves individuals across the economy and at all income levels. Some will need every ounce of support that we can offer them," he said. "We're all in this together we will need to offer a helping hand where it's needed."

The fee waiver will remain in place until further notice, depending on circumstances in the economy and financial markets.

Waiving loan and withdrawal fees is the latest action taken by Empower in response to the unprecedented events since the outbreak began. Over the last month, Empower has taken numerous steps to protect and support the interests of customers, employees and other stakeholders. Empower has suspended all in-person meetings, canceled travel and shifted nearly its entire employee base to work-from-home status in an effort to adhere to social distancing standards.

On March 17, Empowr wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seeking support for retirement provisions in legislation that became law 10 days later. Last week, Empower announced $250,000 in donations to community organizations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the company has amplified communications to clients, advisors and individuals through market commentary, research and operational and business continuity updates about the firm-wide response to the virus and resulting market and economic volatility.

In addition, Empower has bolstered all call center capacity and elevated the availability of one-on-one counseling sessions to meet the needs of retirement investors seeking advice.

About Empower Retirement
Headquartered in metro Denver, Empower Retirement administers $686.5 billion in assets /1/ for more than 9.4 million retirement plan participants, as of Dec. 31, 2019. It is the nation's second-largest retirement plan record keeper by total participants (Pensions & Investments, April 2019. Empower serves all segments of the employer-sponsored retirement plan market: government 457 plans; small, midsize and large corporate 401 (k) clients; non-profit 403 (b) entities; private-label recordkeeping clients; and Individual Retirement Account customers. For more information please visit www.Empower-retirement.com.

/1/ As of Dec. 31, 2019. Information refers to the business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, including Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York and GWFS Equities, Inc. GWLA's consolidated total assets under administration (AUA) were $686.5B. AUA is a non-GAAP measure and does not reflect the financial stability or strength of a company. GWLA's statutory assets total $48.8B and liabilities total $47.3B. GWLANY statutory assets total $1.6B and liabilities total $1.5B.

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