Several local banks have sent out notifications that those who are affected by the partial federal shutdown can potentially receive assistance including gap loans or late payment forgiveness.
According to a study done for CareerBuilder in 2017, 78 percent of workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck. Banks in Douglas County are providing options for customers, including gap loans and late payment forgiveness.
Florence-based Oregon Pacific Bank CEO and President Ron Green said his team got to work last week on what they could do to help their customers.
“We want to do everything we can to help them,” Green said. “They can repay whenever the government reopens and they get their back pay.”
The U.S. Government partially shut down on Dec. 19 over an impasse between lawmakers and the White House over funding for a southern border wall.
Green said people can bring in evidence of what their pay would have been, and the bank can offer a restricted line of credit for six months with no interest and no fees. He said taking care of their members takes care of the economy and in turn helps the bank.
“We’re invested in the success economically of our small towns,” Green said. “As the local economy and the success goes, so does the success of the Oregon Pacific Bank. We’re a local company. We’re no different than the tire shop down the street, we just happen to provide banking services.”
Eugene-based Northwest Community Credit Union has a system already in place for members during extreme events from wildfires to large-scale layoffs in a community.
“This isn’t anything new that we do,” loan advisor Jason Fisher said. “We actually have a modification team that will help our members anytime an unexpected hardship comes. This isn’t a change, we just wanted to make sure our members who are affected by this know we have this available to them.”
Fisher said Northwest Community Credit Union has helped about 30 members statewide with modifications related to the shutdown.
As of this March, there were 336 people working at federal agencies in Douglas County that currently don’t have appropriations, according to Oregon Employment Department Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer.
Northwest Community Credit Union is part of the Northwest Credit Union Association which is a trade organization for credit unions Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Spokesperson Lynn Heider said several partner credit unions are offering some sort of assistance to members and recommended anyone affected by the furlough inform their bank about their situation.
“If you belong to a credit union and you’re on furlough, your credit union doesn’t necessarily know that,” Heider said. “You should notify them and ask for services before you get too far behind. Even if you’re not a member, why don’t you call a credit union in your community and see if you have any options because you could join.”