With the government shutdown now in its fourth week, banks and credit unions are ramping up help to federal workers.
Some 420,000 employees are considered “essential,” and are working without pay, while an estimated 380,000 others have been ordered to stay home.
Colorado’s Alpine Bank has set aside $5 million to help furloughed workers. If you can prove you’re an unpaid federal employee, you can get an interest-free loan the same day you apply.
Provident Bank in New Jersey recently announced it will cancel mortgage and credit card late fees for federal workers and allow them to break their certificates of deposit early without any penalties.
Huntington, a bank based in Columbus, Ohio, with some 960 branches across the Midwest, is offering a “low rate, quick loan program” for customers who are federal employees.
Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, said the bank is not offering any special loans for impacted customers. However, it will reverse monthly service and overdraft fees for those who are employed by a closed government agency.
“If the shutdown goes on, we will continue to review how we are working with customers whose incomes are impacted and make changes to ensure that we are providing them with the most appropriate assistance,” Goyda said.
Chase is also waiving some fees for government employees who have direct-deposit set up. Credit card and mortgage late charges might also be dropped.
Some of the more generous offers are coming from credit unions.
“Credit unions across the country are stepping up to help federal employees and families affected by the government shutdown,” said Ryan Donovan, the chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association.
Veridian Credit Union has a Government Advance Loan for impacted members, with no interest. Space Coast Credit Union is offering an interest-free loan to members experiencing a financial hardship because of the government shutdown.
Launch Federal Credit Union has a zero-percent interest rate for loans up to $3,000 to federal government employees. Navy Federal Credit Union is doing the same, with a limit of $6,000. For more information, check out its frequently asked questions page.
The U.S. Employees Credit Union is providing interest-free loans to impacted members for 60 days, regardless of their credit score.
Justice Federal Credit Union is offering unsecured loans with low interest rates to any impacted workers at the Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security.
Credit union FedChoice will waive early-withdrawal fees on some certificates of deposit and issue short-term loans with interest rates as low as 2.50 percent. Among other requirements, you’ll need to provide evidence of your furloughed status.
Nami Baral, CEO of Harvest, a start-up that uses artificial intelligence to negotiate bank fees, will make its service available to federal workers for free until the government reopens. (Normally, the company gets 25 percent of any reimbursed charges.)
“Even when consumers’ paychecks are delayed by a few days, they can rack up hundreds of dollars in overdrafts and late fees,” Baral said.