With the federal government shutdown in its third week, credit unions across Georgia have stepped up to aid furloughed members.
“Our tagline is ‘helping people afford life,’” said Janet Kircher, member experience event and media coordinator at United 1st Federal Credit Union. “This is just another way for us to help exceed member expectations in a time of need.”
The partial federal government shutdown began Dec. 21, after Congress failed to pass a short-term spending bill President Donald Trump was willing to sign. The failure to pass the spending bill has resulted in the furlough of employees working in about a quarter of the federal government.
According to data from the U.S. Labor Department compiled by Governing.com, 100,908 federal employees, including postal workers, were living in Georgia as of June 2017. About 21 percent of the state’s population belongs to a credit union.
Below is a sampling of Georgia credit unions offering programs to lessen the financial impact to members affected by the shutdown.
Associated Credit Union – Associated Credit Union has long served federal employees in Georgia and serves members who work for the federal government. To help those affected by the shutdown, Associated Credit Union has been offering a Federal Furlough Relief Loan, featuring 0 percent interest for 6 months up to $750.Members with an existing loan can be granted a 2-month deferment or a lower alternate payment while the shutdown is active.
After three days of offering the Federal Furlough Relief Loan, Associated received 45 applications and funded $16,500 worth of loans.
“This is a situation that is mostly out of our members’ control,” said Associated Credit Union Senior Vice President of Lending Chad Evans. “Therefore, as a cooperative, it is important for us to assist those in a temporary hardship with the proper resources we have available. We feel that is the right thing to do and it is what our membership, as a whole, expects us to do.”
Atlanta Postal Credit Union – Atlanta Postal Credit Union is open to all employees of the federal government, both civilian and military, as long as they live in Georgia.The credit union is encouraging members who have been impacted by the partial government shutdown to call the loan department to review their options.
CDC Federal Credit Union – A few years ago, CDC Federal Credit Union developed a Lifeline Loan designed to help its largely federally-employed membership in the event of a government shutdown. Furloughed members will be pre-approved for a Lifeline Loan in the amount that matches their previous direct deposits. Members can also request more or less than that pre-approved amount.
“We’ve always felt that it was important to provide this service,” said CDC Federal Credit Union Vice President of Member Engagement Andy Anderson. “The disruption in members’ pay is beyond their control and we feel it’s our duty to help them. It emphasizes the value of being a member of our credit union.”
Delta Community Credit Union – Delta Community Credit Union serves many TSA employees, given the credit union’s proximity to the airport. As such, Delta Community has assembled a centralized team to respond to inquiries from members who are affected by the government shutdown.
“We haven’t received a lot of requests yet, but we stand ready to assist with fee waivers, payment holidays on existing loans and/or expedited personal loans for bridge financing when needed,” said Delta Community Credit Union Chief Operating Officer Matthew Shepherd.
Georgia United Credit Union – Georgia United Credit Union serves members who work or live in 15 different counties across Georgia. As of Jan. 10, Georgia United began offering two different programs to any members whose income may have been affected by the government shutdown. Affected members can qualify for a Personal Loan Discount, meaning they can borrow up to one month of their net pay and receive a 3 percent discount off their interest rate. The loan is an unsecured, fixed-rate loan to be repaid within 12 months. Members affected by the government shutdown may also qualify for a special Skip-A-Pay option on eligible loans. The standard Skip-A-Pay fee will be waived during the month of January.
“Georgia United is pleased to offer assistance to members whose pay has been impacted by the partial government shutdown,” said Mike London, chief lending officer at Georgia United Credit Union. “We look forward to helping our members during this uncertain time.”
GeoVista Federal Credit Union – GeoVista Federal Credit Union serves both military and civilian personnel at Fort Stewart and Hunter Airfield as well as community members in Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties. To aid members affected by the shutdown, GeoVista is offering 0 percent interest on loans for the next 90 days. The credit union will also be offering 60-day loan skips or interest-only payments for 60 days on existing loans.
“We stand directly beside the Department of Defense employees,” said Barbara Martin, vice president of operations for GeoVista Federal Credit Union. “We service many of them and we need to be sure we can properly assist them in this time of need.”
Glynn County Federal Employees Credit Union – Glynn County Federal Employees Credit Union,serving federal employees in the area, will allow members to delay loan payments for a month if the government shutdown extends to Jan. 14.
Kinetic Credit Union– To aid its civilian members employed at Fort Benning during the government shutdown, Kinetic Credit Union is offering furlough loans, amounting to up to two weeks of net pay, to members set up with direct deposit. These loans feature 0 percent APR for the first 60 days and will default to the same rate as shared secured loans, about 4.1 percent, after that 60-day period.
Furloughed members who are not set up with direct deposit may apply for extensions on current loans or for new personal loans. They also have the option of penalty-free withdrawals on certificates.
“Credit unions are owned by the members they serve,” said Haley Hudson, marketing manager at Kinetic Credit Union. “Kinetic is ready to support our members when they need it most.”
Peach State Federal Credit Union – Peach State Federal Credit Union serves members from a number of counties across the state. The credit union is offering a zero-interest loan to members affected by the government shutdown. Under certain circumstances, that loan could be as much as $6,000.
United 1st Federal Credit Union – United 1st Federal Credit Union services members who work for federal agencies, including those employed by the Cumberland Island National Seashore through the National Park Service.
To help these members, the credit union is offering a 30-day extension on outstanding vehicle or signature loans to furloughed government employees. The normal fee to skip a monthly payment will be waived. Kircher said the credit union will also discuss options involving mortgages on a case-by-case basis.
“One of our service standards is to provide positive,creative and appropriate solutions,” Kircher said. “We feel like this is a relatively simple way we can help our furloughed employees, so they can focus on buying food, gas and other necessities while they aren’t receiving paychecks.”