Credit Unions Continue Aiding Federal Workers, Info Needed as Law and Policy Makers take Note

America’s credit unions are embodying their structure and mission to ensure their members affected by the government shutdown have access to low- or no-interest loans with generous repayment terms. An estimated 800,000 federal employees and their families are facing financial uncertainty because they aren’t being paid during the shutdown.

CUNA and the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) are currently collecting information regarding the assistance credit unions across the nation are providing. Some of the furlough assistance programs include: 

  • Zero percent APR interest signature relief loan for 12 months signature relief loan; 
  • Pay Disruption Assistance Program with mortgage loan forbearances, loan and credit card payment deferments, and short-term low rate loans;
  • Online member portals with special furlough loans; 
  • Pre-existing loan deferred payment opportunities for up to 60 days; and 
  • Cash advances of up to 90% of federal employee’s regular monthly pay. 

Credit unions are also helping federal employees who are not yet members have access to these services by welcoming eligible members across the country. 

Five federal financial regulators and numerous state regulators including the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance (see related story below) are encouraging financial institutions to work with borrowers affected by the federal government shutdown. 

A state by state breakdown of how credit unions across the country are assisting their members impacted by the shutdown is available on CUNA’s Shutdown Assistance Web page.

Here in New Jersey two credit unions have shared what they’re doing to help members, Aspire FCU and XCEL FCU. 

Aspire is offering qualified members with an established direct deposit a 12-month $3,000 loan at 0% APR. Members with an existing auto or personal loan in good standing may be eligible to skip a loan payment for two consecutive months. If a loan is not in good standing, they will work with the member to determine if a loan extension or modification can be made.

Members who have funds tied up in a Share Certificate man withdraw those funds without penalty, and qualified borrowers who take out a new loan may be able to defer the first payment for up to 60 days.

XCEL is offering its furloughed employees low interest loans (4.99%) with a 60-day deferment for the first payment, loan payment deferrals for consumer loans, and mortgage and home equity loan relief on a case-by-case basis.

Both credit unions have set-up dedicated phone lines for member inquires.

If you are a New Jersey credit union willing to share your story of providing assistance to federal employees currently not working due to the federal government shutdown, please contact NJCUL Vice President of Corporate and Governmental Affairs, Chris Abeel, at cabeel@njcul.org or 1-800-792-8861 ext. 127.

Credit union efforts began shortly after government funding lapsed in December and continue as federal workers missed their first paycheck last week. Several media outlets have noted these efforts, including CNBC and Vox.

Congressional leaders from across the nation have also shared information about credit union efforts or encouraged federal workers in their states to check out the resources provided by credit unions, and Kevin Hassett, President Trump’s chief economic adviser, said on Fox Business Network’s After the Bell this week that people “should contact their supervisors in order to help them with the federal credit unions making low-interest loans and so on.”