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How Banks and Lenders Are Helping Workers Affected by the Government Shutdown

Many federal workers aren't getting paid. Here’s how some banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are helping them out.

by Funto Omojola
Jan 14 2019, 8:23pm

Protesters hold signs during a protest rally by government workers and concerned citizens against the government shutdown on Friday, January 11, 2019 at Post Office Square near the Federal building in Boston. Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP / Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed their first paycheck on January 11 as the U.S government entered the fourth week of what has now become the longest shutdown in its history. All the while, the bills keep stacking up, from mortgage payments to credit card balances. Real estate site Zillow estimated that the 800,000 affected workers will owe $189 million USD in rent and another $249 million in mortgage payments this month.

As workers took to the streets to protest the shutdown, several banks, credit unions, and lenders have stepped up to offer financial support in the form of interest-free loans, extended payment dates, and waived fees. Most are doing so on a case-by-case basis, urging customers to contact them directly to discuss their options.

While the offers are welcome, be sure to get everything in writing so you don’t get stuck with an even bigger bill—or worse, a damaged credit score—later. “Even if your lender is willing to adjust your payment date, you may still be charged interest even though they say you don’t need to send in this month’s credit card payment. Keep up with your bills if at all possible,” says Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

FREE has compiled a list a list of banks, credit unions, and lenders that are helping federal workers during the shutdown. We’ll be updating the list as we learn of more offers.

Ally Bank

An Ally Financial spokesperson told FREE that customers impacted by the shutdown should contact the bank directly to discuss their individual options. A message on its site directs customers to chat, call or email them to do so.

American Express

An Amex spokesperson told FREE it's assisting consumer, small business, and corporate card members who are affected by the shutdown by waiving late fees, return check fees, and future interest charges. Customers can call to discuss their options.

Bank of America

Spokesperson Lawrence Grayson told FREE that BofA will be helping those affected with fee refunds and waivers, repayment plans, and loan modification on a “case-by-case basis.” A message on the BofA site invites customers to call or schedule an appointment with a specialist for personalized assistance.

Bank of the West

The bank posted a message on its website asking those impacted by the shutdown to call for assistance.

Capital One Bank

“We are here to assist our customers who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the federal government shutdown,” a Capital One Bank spokesperson told FREE. “Assistance provided to our impacted customers could include temporarily waiving or refunding certain credit card fees, extending payment due dates on auto loans, and waiving or refunding overdraft, insufficient funds, and service fees on deposit accounts.”

Chase Bank

The bank will automatically waive the overdraft and monthly services fees for checking and savings accounts for those affected by the shutdown. “We’re also helping our mortgage, credit card and car loan customers, but they have to contact us because we generally don’t have the same level of up-to-date information as we do on checking customers,” a Chase spokesperson told FREE, via email. “We’re working on these one case at a time to do our best to protect customers from negative consequences for missing a payment, such as late fees or reporting a late payment to a credit bureau.”

Discover

Credit card and bank customers are eligible for several forms of assistance, including skipping a payment and having late fees and interest charges reversed if they do. Discover is working with customers on a case-by-case basis, according to a spokesperson. Customers can chat with or call a representative for assistance.

First Command Financial Services

The financial company, which caters to military members and offers insurance, banking, and financial advisors, is issuing zero-interest payroll advances, offering loan assistance, penalty-free early withdrawal, and waiving cash advance fees to affected Coast Guard and federal employee clients, Scott Spiker, Chairman and CEO of First Command Financial Services, said in an email statement to FREE. Call or send a secure message for assistance.

Justice Federal Credit Union

This credit union is offering unsecured loans of up to $3,000 at 3.19 percent interest, loan deferment up to 30 days, and mortgage assistance to members who work at the Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security. Members can visit a branch (open Saturdays) or call for information.

Navy Federal Credit Union

One of the more generous lenders, this credit union is providing interest-free loans of up to $6,000 to federal government workers and active duty members of the Coast Guard who are also members of the credit union. You can apply for the Government Shutdown Loan Program online. Others who are affected can call to discuss their options.

PNC Bank

“PNC is prepared to waive monthly service fees and take other appropriate actions for government employees who are experiencing financial difficulty due to the shutdown,” Marcey Zwiebel Director, Corporate Public Relations PNC Bank, told FREE. The bank is advising customers to contact them for case-by-case assistance.

The U.S. Employees Credit Union

This credit union is offering 60-day, interest-free loans for federal government employees whose direct deposit pay will be affected by the shutdown, regardless of their credit score. “Loan amounts will be calculated by rounding your last bi-weekly direct deposit down to the nearest $100.00 increment. For example, if your last government pay was $3,479.41, your loan amount will be $3,400.00,” according to a statement on the credit union’s site, where members can apply directly.

Wells Fargo

The bank will automatically reverse monthly service, overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees, and suppress late fees on credit cards for employees affected by a federal government agency and whose payroll check was direct deposited into the customer’s account in November 2018, a spokesperson told FREE. Customers can call for assistance. The bank says it is also helping customers who do not have direct deposit or are not receiving an automatic fee reversal on an individual basis.

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This article originally appeared on Free US.

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