Credit Union Government Shutdown Assistance Programs
Credit union efforts to assist members impacted by the government shutdown began shortly after government funding lapsed in December. Association member credit unions provide a variety of Government Shutdown Financial Relief Assistance Programs to assist furloughed federal workers and members affected by the shutdown.
The fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2018, and Congress has passed just five out of 12 appropriations bills setting discretionary spending levels. Lawmakers had until midnight on Dec. 21, 2018, to enact legislation to fund the programs covered by the remaining seven appropriations bills, but they allowed that funding to lapse. The federal government has now partially shut down. An estimated 380,000 employees have been furloughed during the late 2018-early 2019 shutdown, and another 420,000 employees will report to work during the current shutdown but not receive pay until the shutdown ends.
The partial shutdown has affected approximately 450,000 employees in nine federal departments:
- Agriculture Department
- Commerce Department
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Interior Department
- Justice Department
- State Department
- Transportation Department
- Treasury Department
Five federal agencies, including the National Credit Union Administration, released an alert and comments urging financial insitutions to assist consumers imapcted by the Government Shutdown. Their press release may be found at:https://www.ncua.gov/newsroom/press-release/2019/regulators-encourage-institutions-work-borrowers-affected-government-shutdown
Other federal guidance may be found HERE.
State agencies and lawmakers are also encouraging credit unions to use website notices and other outreach efforts to raise visability of assistance programs and encourage federally- employed consumers to reach out for help.
Massachusetts Division of Banks and Loan Agencies Issues Guidance on Government Shutdown
The Massachusetts Division of Banks and Loan Agencies (“Division”) encourages credit unions and others in the Commonwealth to work with consumers and small businesses affected by the federal government shutdown. Concerns remain over temporary hardships by consumer in making payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans, or credit cards. Prudent efforts consistent with safe-and-sound lending practices by lenders to modify terms on existing loans or to extend new credit to help affected borrowers are encouraged. Guidance released yesterday by the Division to credit unions notes that such efforts should not be subject to examiner criticism. The guidance mirrors the joint federal agency statement issued on January 11th encouraging financial institutions to work with customers who are impacted by the partial government shutdown and may be reviewed HERE.
New Hampshire Banking Deparetment Issues Government Shut Down Alert
New Hampshire Banking Commissioner Jerry Little and the Banking Department staff are closely monitoring developments around the federal government shutdown and its impact on local consumers. Consumer access to financial services and the ability of credit unions to assist during this challenging time is paramount. The Department has released a letter to financial institutions regarding working with consumers affected by the partial federal shutdown which may be viewed HERE.
Credit union efforts to assist members impacted by the government shutdown began shortly after government funding lapsed in December and continue as federal workers missed their first paycheck last week.
Government Shutdown Financial Relief Assistance Programs currently available in our member states include:
The Association is continuing to collect information from credit unions that are providing assistance to furloughed federal workers and members affected by the shutdown.
Credit unions are encouraged to submit information on how they have assisted members to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any Association member in need of member talking points, media assistance, or compliance guidance is strongly encouraged to contact the Association at email@example.com.