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NMFA Urges Military Community Impacted by Government Shutdown to Seek Help at Military CUs; CUs in Cornerstone Region Prepared to Help
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 7:00 AM

In light of the government shutdown, the National Military Family Association is urging the military community not to turn to payday lenders for financial help.  Families experiencing a hardship due to a reduced paycheck are being encouraged to seek assistance from a military credit union among others. And credit unions like FirstLight FCU in El Paso, Texas are poised to help.

According to FirstLight FCU CEO Karl Murphy, the credit union has already received a half of dozen or so calls from federal civilian workers who have been impacted by the government shutdown. The longer the shutdown continues; Murphy anticipates more members will be turning to the credit union for assistance.

For qualifying members, the credit union is offering an unsecured Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) loan. Only members who are able to provide proof of being a government employee, and can verify that they have been affected by the government shutdown are eligible for the loan.  Murphy says all loan decisions will be determined on an individual “needs” basis.

FirstLight FCU is also prepared to offer qualifying members loan extensions on existing loans, as well as modify loan payments, and provide concessions for members that need to access funds in their share certificate accounts.

Given that a large percentage of its membership base is tied to military base, Matt Stratton, senior vice president of Marketing for Tinker FCU, says they are expecting that a significant percentage of their membership will be impacted by the government shutdown. Stratton says the credit union has a hardship plan in place.

“Our approach has always been to work with our members on an individual basis to address their specific needs,” says Stratton.

Stratton says the credit union is prepared to offer impacted government civilian employees the opportunity to skip a payment without paying the traditional fee; as well as take advantage of interest only payments on existing loans, or take out special low rate hardship loan.

When Dallas CU opened its doors at 8 a.m. yesterday, President and CEO Dee Pennington said they had members waiting at the door.

“We had sent out an email to all members informing them that we would offer a furlough loan at 0 percent APR to all members impacted by the government shutdown, and members were waiting at the door to take advantage of this loan,” said Pennington.

Dallas CU was chartered in 1948 by employees of Social Security Administration and Health & Human Services.

“All of our members are essential to us, so of course we will be there for them during this time of uncertainty,” Pennington added.