WASHINGTON (2/26/15)--As both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Congress continue debate of a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dollars needed to pay federal employees as soon as this weekend hang in the balance.
Credit unions with federal employee membership bases aren't waiting to see how the funding fight all shakes out.
For example, Transportation FCU, Washington, D.C., is offering a furlough loan program to those who might be affected by the potential shutdown, Jeffrey Arvai, Transportation president/CEO, told
Through the program, members will have the ability to receive two weeks of net pay with an 18-month repayment term at an annual rate of 4.5%, with the first payment deferred for the first 45 days.
Transportation FCU also will allow members who already have loans with the credit union to skip one monthly payment, Arvai said.
"We have already had some members contact us," Arvai told
. "We've done this in the past for other government shutdowns, and I think our members are aware we try to do everything we can when situations like this arise."
Transportation serves employees within the DHS such as Transportation Security Administration employees and members of the U.S. Coast Guard, both of which may soon have to begin working without pay.
Justice FCU, Chantilly, Va., also announced recently it's prepared to offer special assistance to federal employees in the form of unsecured, low-interest rate loans and deferred payments to all members who work for the Department of Justice and the DHS.
Those affected by the shutdown can apply for an unsecured loan of up to $10,000 at an annual rate of 0% for the first 60 days. After 60 days, the rate moves to 4.9% for 24 months. The loan amount is based on the member's net pay deposit.
Further, members may defer their first loan payment for up to 60 days.
"Supporting the Justice community is a vital part of our mission," said Peter Sainato, Justice president/CEO. "We were there for our members during the last government shutdown and stand ready to offer special assistance for them once again."
Justice will allow members with existing loans at the credit union to defer one payment per loan as well.
A LifeLine Loan is being offered by
, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The credit union's membership also includes employees of
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Federal Emergency Management Agency and Secret Service.
Members can request the loans, equal to one month's net payroll of up to $5,000. No payment is required within the first 60 days on the 0% loan. If the loan is not repaid within 60 days, the loan converts to an installment loan at 8.49% APR that members can repay over a 12-month period.
Hanscom FCU also will waive penalties for premature withdrawals on certificates of deposit and allow qualified members to skip consumer loan payments with no fee.
"We have always stood by members whose income or benefits are affected by furloughs, and we continue to be here for members," said Hanscom Board Chair Paul Marotta.