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CUs help ease furloughed members finances during gov't shutdown
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:50 AM

Credit unions serving government employees continue to assist members as the government shutdown heads into its third week.

At Arkansas Federal Credit Union, members affected by the shutdown may be eligible to receive a match to their pre-established direct deposits. Members in good standing with pre-established checking accounts and a direct deposit from the federal government may be eligible for short-term, interest-free loans.

“We’ve already had quite a bit of interest from members,” says Valerie Erkman, senior vice president of marketing at the Jacksonville, Ark., credit union. “We haven’t funded any loans yet, but we anticipate payday to trigger loan funding requests from members.”

Arkansas Federal began receiving higher call volume after the New Year, she adds. “I think that’s when the reality really set in; after the holidays. We’re here to lessen that impact financially any way we can.”

VSECU in Montpelier, Vt., offers a low-rate “Member Emergency Loan” up to $1,500 to help replace the lost wages of furloughed federal employees, including military personnel. Staff quickly processes loan applications to reduce members’ financial uncertainty.

“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,” says Valerie Beaudin, VSECU’s head of consumer residential lending. “VSECU is here to support our members, and together we’ll get through.”

United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph, Mich., offers affected members:

  • Waiver of early withdrawal penalty on share certificates.
  • Signature loan with no payments for 90 days.
  • Budget counseling and member assistance program.
  • Installment loan deferments.
  • A “U First” credit card with a 0 percent introductory annual percentage rate for six months.

“When unexpected circumstances impact our members’ lives, United steps up to help them through it,” says Erin Hennessy, chief innovation and marketing officer. “Even a slight disruption in someone’s finances can be stressful, especially when it concerns their job. United makes relief programs like these available so our members can breathe a little easier when times are uncertain.”

Read more about what other credit unions are doing to help furloughed government workers across the country.