Oct. 9, 2013 – Credit unions are continuing to offer a variety of options to help members affected by the ongoing federal government shutdown, which is in its second week.
In a news conference on Tuesday, President Obama once again called on House Republicans to pass a clean budget and debt ceiling bill. He reiterated that Congress’ basic job is “passing a budget and making sure that America’s paying its bills.” President Obama said he would be open to short-term deals on the debt limit and government funding to allow for broader negotiations.
The shutdown began Oct. 1, and legislation has been enacted that has ensured that all military servicemembers and nearly all civilian defense employees remain at work and receive pay. But others, including “nonessential” employees throughout the dozens of federal agencies and offices outside the defense structure, remain at home without pay.
Amid all this, NAFCU members remain focused on ensuring their members have the help they need to meet their daily financial needs.
NAFCU members from all over the nation have been preparing for the government shutdown the past couple of months. Many credit unions, like Service CU in Portsmouth, N.H., credited direct deposit accounts for military and Department of Defense government workers affected for pay they might not receive.
“We wish to minimize and ensure that our military and DoD civilian members do not encounter any financial hardship, inconvenience and/or financial harm due to the government shutdown” said Gordon Simmons, the credit union's president and CEO, in a press statement. “Service Credit Union is honored to support our loyal members with this safety net.”
While military and DoD government workers have now been promised pay through H.R. 3223, the “Pay Our Military Act,” and have reported back to work, there are still many affected government workers. For these members, Service CU is offering programs like deferred existing loan payments and no-penalty withdraw of certificate of deposits.
Fort Knox FCU in Radcliff, Ky., which serves more than 5,000 Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors in its area, is offering furloughed federal workers a special line of credit with 0 percent APR for one month. Rebecca Ates, the credit union’s vice president of lending, said the credit union has “assisted more than 200 members with payment reductions and 0 percent APR loans” in connection with the current furlough and others due to sequestration.
Justice FCU in Chantilly, Va., is offering unsecured, low-interest rate loans, deferred payments and penalty-free share certificate withdrawals to all its members of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The credit union also encouraged all its members to refinance any high interest rate debt as it might reduce monthly expenses and the credit union will also allow them to defer their first payment for up to 90 days.
NAFCU is maintaining a running list of credit unions promoting special programs and services to furloughed federal workers. To add your credit union to the list, send an email to Quincy Enoch, NAFCU’s associate director of legislative affairs and military liaison, to firstname.lastname@example.org.