These groups offer housing, financial shutdown assistance to unpaid feds

Updated Jan. 25 to include Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Farmers State Bank, Signal Financial Federal Credit Union and Lafayette Federal Credit Union

The longest partial government shutdown in history is now a month and counting. Many feds, both furloughed and those still working, are making tough decisions about their finances and how to cope with the lack of a paycheck.

Several banking institutions which cater to feds have announced a variety of loans and other special assistance to members affected by the shutdown. This is not a comprehensive list but to suggest additions please contact abrust@federalnewsnetwork.com.

USAA

USAA Federal Savings Bank has several assistance options for members, including loans and deferred payments.

Those who serve in the Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, or the Public Health Service Corps and had a deposit relationship as of Jan. 13 with USAA Federal Savings Bank are eligible for the loans (excluding retirees and those who have separated from the aforementioned services).

Deferred payments, with some restrictions, on credit cards and consumer Loans, and special payment arrangements with USAA Home and Auto Insurance are also available.

Navy Federal Credit Union

NFCU is offering 0 percent APR loans to federal employees and active duty Coast Guard who have direct deposit accounts with the credit union, not including Defense Department employees whose pay is unaffected by the shutdown. As of Jan. 17, about 16,000 of NFCU’s more than 100,000 eligible members have taken advantage of the special assistance and more were expected as the shutdown covers multiple pay periods, the credit union said.

NASA Federal Credit Union

NASA FCU is offering a furlough relief loan with no payments or interest for 60 days for members who experienced delayed paychecks or were furloughed as a result of the shutdown.

The loan allows users to access up to $10,000 for a 60-month term interest-free and payment free for 60 days, subject to credit approval. Currently the loan is available through Jan. 31 but that is subject to change, per NASA FCU’s website.

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund

FEEA launched a grant program to assist civilian feds with annual salaries of $55,000 or less, who have been furloughed or are working in excepted status and not getting paid. They can receive a $100 grant to help cover everyday necessities essentials such as groceries and gas.

But the fund is also asking for donations, due to increased need for assistance, which can be made online or by check mailed to  FEEA, (1641 Prince St., Alexandria, Virginia, 22314).

Meanwhile, FEEA also has a $100 grant program available for National Active and Retired Federal Employees members affected by the shutdown.

PenFed Credit Union

Members whose agencies are affected by the shutdown have three new options for assistance. Those interested in taking advantage of the assistance may need to provide a copy of their furlough letters as verification. More information is available by calling 1-800-247-5626 to speak with a member service representative to determine eligibility:

  1. Skip Payment
    Consumer loans and lines of credit may be eligible for a skip payment for the month of January. For real estate loans, speak with a representative to determine eligibility for a skip payment on a first mortgage, equity loan, or equity line of credit.
  2. Furlough Loan Product
    Members without direct deposit accounts who need paycheck replacements or other access to funds may be eligible for a furlough loan product, which is an unsecured, fixed-rate installment loan. It offers a 2 percent discount off of an approved applicant’s standard interest rate.
  3. Direct Deposit Assistance
    Members with direct deposit into a PenFed deposit accounts may qualify for this program which offers a 0 percent advance on an overdraft line of credit.

State Department Federal Credit Union

SDFCU is offering certain services for those impacted by the shutdown. The offer is currently scheduled to end Feb. 28 but SDFCU’s website says the program may be adjusted depending upon the length of the government furlough.

  • Emergency Visa Platinum Credit Card furlough loans at 0 percent interest for the first two months
  • Delayed loan payments on a case-by-case basis
  • Refunded late fees on loan payments
  • Eliminating penalties for cashing in Share Certificates early in order to have access to the money sooner
  • Refunded cash advance fees for Visa Platinum or Premium Cash Back+ credit cards when using an ATM

Justice Federal Credit Union

JFCU members of at least six months who work for either the Department of Homeland Security or Justice Department and are affected by the shutdown may be eligible for unsecured, low interest rate loans and deferred payments.

Mortgage assistance may also be available.

More information is available online.

GSA Federal Credit Union

GSA FCU will maintain ATMs and electronic banking services for members during the shutdown. Furloughed employees with GSA FCU loans may use “skip-a-pay,” as well as a special loan.

More information is available on GSA FCU’s website.

FedChoice Federal Credit Union

FedChoice FCU has a range of offers for furloughed members, more information about which can be found through their online “Furlough Center.”

These include:

  • Covering the initial deposit for new members
  • Waiving withdrawal penalties
  • Shutdown loan options
  • Additional skip-a-pays
  • Extensions on home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Refinancing of auto loans
  • Access to a financial counselor
  • FAQs

The Partnership Federal Credit Union

The Partnership FCU’s member services can still be reached for questions about assistance during the shutdown while the branch at 3503 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Virginia, 22201, will remain open. ATM and online banking access remain open, and new offers are available for furloughed employees including:

  • Early withdrawals from certificates without penalties,
  • Withdrawals from money market accounts without a fee,
  • Early closures and withdrawals from Holiday Club accounts without a fee, and
  • Skip Pay option for ZipLine loans.

Furlough loans, personal loans and skip-a-loan payments are also available. More information can be found here.

U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union

USPS FCU is offering an emergency loan product with special terms, as well as additional services, to members who are federal civilian employees who will not be receiving a paycheck or retirement check due to the shutdown. Other assistance includes waiving of Skip-A-Pay fees, payment deferment, waiving of withdrawal penalty  fees, and free financial counseling.

American Legion

The American Legion Kenneth H. Nash Post 8 in Washington, D.C. announced Jan. 17 it would use its quarterly fundraiser to assist Coast Guard service members going without pay due to the shutdown.

The Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance program has received more than 1,000 requests, and additional funds are needed, the organization said. The fund is supported through donations to the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation which are tax deductible. To apply for assistance from the fund, check here.

Democracy Federal Credit Union

In light of the shutdown, Democracy FCU, which serves employees at the departments of Education, and Health and Human Services as well as other agencies, has branches in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The bank is offering loan extensions and deferred payments, short-term loans and free financial counseling.

City National Bank

The bank, which has branches in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, is offering furloughed federal employee members loan payment deferrals and furlough relief loans. The relief loans have a 24-month repayment period.

First Command Financial Services Inc.

Texas-based First Command Financial Services Inc., which has offices around the national capital region, said about 6 percent of its roughly 3,000 eligible clients have started taking advantage of its zero-interest payroll advances for affected feds. The company is also offering:

  • Loan assistance.
  • Penalty-free early C.D. withdrawals.
  • Secured lines of credit for which clients can use their non-tax qualified mutual fund as collateral.
  • Priority processing for increases to credit limits and deferments of monthly payments for Visa cardholders, as well as the waiving of cash advance fees during the shutdown.
  • Guidance from the company’s financial advisers on federal allotments for investments and insurance, as well as other issues.

Credit Union West

Credit Union West in Arizona is offering zero-percent APR personal loans for up to $6,000 on a two-year term for furloughed members. Fed members of the credit union may qualify for the “Skip a Payment” option to waive one monthly payment on an existing loan at no cost.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union

Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Members 1st is allowing members to apply for a personal loan with a $5,000 credit limit at 0 percent for six months, as well as skip-a-payment options.

Farmers State Bank

Farmers State Bank is offering assistance for the shutdown to its furloughed members or members at affected agencies who live in Ohio’s Ashland, Medina and Wayne counties. The bank has a special  loan with 0 percent interest until the government reopens, at which point it has a fixed APR of 18 percent. The bank is offering no loan or application fees, and advances on net pay on normal pay dates. Once the shutdown ends, loan interest will be waived if the balance is paid in full, and an outstanding balance is subject to a 1.5 percent of the balance due in monthly payments until paid in full.

Signal Financial Federal Credit Union

For its members directly impacted by the shutdown, Signal Financial Federal Credit Union is offering a 90-percent advance of monthly direct deposits to those in good standing with at least six months of prior direct deposits. Personal and auto loan deferments will be considered as long as the shutdown lasts, as will certain fee waivers related to loss of income. More details are available on the credit union’s website.

Lafayette Federal Credit Union

Maryland-based Lafayette Federal Credit Union  is offering paycheck replacement loan for up to $35,000 to those affected. Debt consolidation and redi-cash lines of credit to use inconjunction with existing LFCU checking accounts are also available. More details can be found on the credit union’s website.

Aside from financial institutions, some companies are offering furloughed feds housing help.

Southern Management Corporation, which operates several apartment properties in Maryland and Virginia, said in a Jan. 14 statement that it would offer residents affected by the shutdown a “modified payment schedule.”

Airbnb also announced that starting Jan. 16, federal executive branch employees who host their home through the site for three nights — for anytime over the three months between Dec. 18 and March 18 — will get paid an extra night up to $110. The company said this is the average per night income of US hosts.

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