Number of CUs Offering Help to Furloughed, Unpaid Fed Workers Continues to Expand

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.—Offers of assistance to members affected by the partial federal government shutdown continue to be extended by more credit unions.

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As reported earlier, new estimates suggest as many as 800,000 people may be affected and will miss regularly scheduled paychecks. For many, credit unions may be the only means of assistance, although some non-profit groups are also exploring ways to help.

Among the latest to offer help:

* In Illinois, Scott Credit Union said it is offering a six-month, 0% APR Government Shutdown Loan to members who are government and civil service employees working without pay during the government shutdown. Members who receive the loan also will not have to make any payments for 30 days.

“If Congress does not act to prevent it, many of our members could face economic hardships,” said Scott Credit Union President & CEO Frank Padak. “We stand ready to help our members, especially those who work at Scott Air Force Base and could be out of a paycheck until it is resolved.”

Scott Credit Union said its Government Shutdown Loan program will offer members the opportunity to borrow 100% of their most recent net two-week pay.

* In California, Edwards FCU is offering loans of up to $5,000 at 2% APR with the first payment deferred until the shutdown has ended. It is also offering a skip-a-payment feature on current loans as well as additional assistance.

* In Redding, Calif., Members 1st Credit Union is offering qualified members  a 0% Federal Employee Payroll Assistance Loan with funds of up to $3,000 and terms out to 12 months; assistance that includes modified payments and skip-a-payments on loans, and on cards, expedited review and approval for line increases or new credit lines for a Members 1st credit card.

“Federal Government employees were some of the early founders of members 1st Credit Union and we’re dedicated to ensure their financial safety during this time of uncertainty,” said Members 1st President and CEO Teri Vanderpol.

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* In Jacksonville, Ark., Arkansas Federal Credit Union is offering members with checking accounts in good standing with a direct deposit from the U.S. federal government a short-term, interest-free loan. “We don’t want our members to worry about their financial well-being due to circumstances beyond their control,” said Rodney Showmar, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Federal.

* In Pleasanton, Calif., Patelco CU said it has activated its Government Shutdown Response Program to aid its 10,000 to 25,000 members potentially affected by the federal government shutdown. Patelco said its Government Shutdown Response Program provides immediate access to financial resources to any member in good standing that works as a federal employee. This program includes access to low interest loans, reversal of non-sufficient-funds (NSF) fees or late fees, and more.

“With potentially thousands of Patelco members impacted by the partial federal government shutdown, Patelco remains dedicated to helping these members achieve and maintain financial health and wellbeing,” said Erin Mendez, CEO of Patelco Credit Union. “That’s why we are introducing special benefits including deferred loan payments, waived fees and low-interest personal loans as a financial bridge for members experiencing financial disruption. We will do everything in our power to help members ease their personal financial worry during this challenging time.”

Others Offering Help

As reported earlier, other credit unions offering assistance to federal employees include:

  • AmeriCU Credit Union in Rome, N.Y., which is offering interest-free furlough loans, fee refunds, and penalty-free certificate withdrawals. "We want to help alleviate the financial stress that a shutdown like this could cause our members,” Ron Belle, chief experience officer for AmeriCU, told local media.  “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re here for our members with the right assistance and services when and where they need it.”
  • Mid Oregon Credit Union in Bend, Ore., which reported it has several hundred members who are employees of the Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, the Fremont-Winema National Forest, BLM and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Mid Oregon is offering short-term loans, “skip-a-pays,” as well as a willingness to work with members on mortgage and auto loan payments.
  •  Vermont State Employees Credit Union if offering a Member Emergency Loan (MEL), with a low rate on amounts  up to $1,500. “It’s a frightening prospect to suddenly lose income at any time of the year, but winter in Vermont is an especially difficult time to find yourself suddenly without funds,” Valerie Beaudin, head of Consumer Residential Lending, told local media.  Members may be eligible for the MEL if they have been in good standing with the credit union for at least six months and have proof of federal employment/furlough status. Loan applications can be completed online at or at any of VSECU’s nine branch locations.
  • In Michigan, Traverse Catholic Federal Credit Union has partnered with the local Bayside Market to help members of the Coast Guard and their families with free groceries. An account into which people can make donations to cover the costs of the groceries has been set up at the credit union.
  • Radcliff, Ky.-based Fort Knox FCU, which is offering affected members a personal loan with no payments due for the first 90 days, or the option to withdraw up to $10,000 of certificate deposits early without penalty by visiting their local branch. FKFCU is also offering the opportunity to extend the payment due date on their current loans by 30, 60 or 90 days, depending on need as determined by the credit union, or applying for a new low-rate VISA credit card or instant cash line of credit to ease financial stress during the shutdown.
  • Keesler FCU in Biloxi, FCU., which is offering a payday advance for members who have federal payroll direct deposit established with the credit union. 
  • In Maine, Northeast Credit Union has announced the availability of several special programs to assist federal workers, including deferments for up to three months on NECU consumer loans, a special low-rate on a 12-month Signature Loan with deferred payments, and continuation of direct deposit pay at the member’s request.
  • In Chantilly, Va., Justice Federal Credit Union is offering special assistance in the form of an unsecured, low interest rate loan and deferred payments to members of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security and other members furloughed as a result of a shutdown. Members with a minimum of six months of membership with Justice Federal may apply for a Special Assistance Loan up to member’s net pay, not to exceed $3,000 at an annual low rate of 2.94% for 24 months. The actual loan amount is based on the member’s net pay deposit, with direct deposit required. Members may opt to defer their first loan payment for up to 90 days. In addition, existing members in good standing with a Justice Federal consumer loan, or credit card may request to defer payments, and request assistance with a Justice Federal First Mortgage Loan.
  • In Massachusetts, Hanscom FCU, which serves Hanscom Air Force Base, said some of its members are eligible for a “LifeLine loan” during the time the government is shut down and paychecks are not being issued.  In addition, Hanscom FCU said it  will waive penalties for premature withdrawals on term share certificates and allow qualified members to skip consumer loan payments with no fee. Members whose paychecks are affected by a shutdown or a furlough are also able to apply for a 0% APR LifeLine loan with a 60-day term, up to 100% of one’s net monthly pay or $5,000, whichever is less. For those needing more than 60 days to repay, the loan will be converted into installment payments over a 12-month term at a low fixed rate of 8.49% APR.
  • The world’s largest credit union, Navy FCU, has announced a plan to cover direct deposit for eligible members during the government shutdown. Coverage for this loan begins if a shutdown extends into the next pay period and pay is interrupted. The credit union is offering assistance to Federal government employees and active duty members of the Coast Guard whose pay has been disrupted by the shutdown, and have an established direct deposit account. Navy Federal will also continue to accept registration for the program until three days after the scheduled pay day.
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Copyright Year: 2019
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