Banks, credit unions offer to help federal workers during shutdown

Published: Jan. 10, 2019 at 6:11 PM EST
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We are on day 20 of the government shutdown. Payday is supposed to be Friday but hundreds of thousands of Americans won't get a check. So what about their bills?

It's a scary reality for thousands of Americans, including some in our region, who don't know when to expect their next paycheck. Now, some lenders are offering to help workers waiting for their wages.

"It's scary because, I mean, we haven't been paid since just before Christmas and there is no end in sight," said James Davis, the electrical foreman at the Federal Correctional Institute in Ray Brook.

But Davis and other FCI employees are still expected to show up to work and they know they aren't getting paid for it.

"Unfortunately, we don't really have a choice," Davis said. "We work in a prison. It's a tough environment but if nobody is there, who will do the job?"

He says the shutdown stress is taking a toll on workplace morale.

"Everyone was kind of hopeful that they would figure something out but now it just looks like it's going to drag on forever," Davis said.

Now, some local banks and credit unions are stepping up to help.

"We are not in the business of foreclosing on your home, that's a last case resort. We really want to make sure we keep people in their homes, keep people in their cars," said Jackie Hallock of the Champlain National Bank.

The Champlain National Bank and the Dannemora Federal Credit Union are just two in the area working with federal employees in a pinch.

"We sat down and put some programs in place that could help some members," said Chris Hay of the Dannemora Federal Credit Union.

Programs like deferred loan payments for those in situations like Davis.

"We'll still continue those deferrals through the remainder of the shutdown," Hay said.

It may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have but they say it's important for affected workers to call them so they can step in and help.

"Totally understand how hard that is and I can tell you that there will be someone there on the other line who will be willing to work with you and be understanding of your situation," Hallock said.

Welcome help as workers wait for the government to get up and running.

"Open the government, let us get our paycheck and then they can fight out their own battle," Davis said.

Both the bank and credit union we spoke with said this offer applies to all current customers who are federal workers impacted by the shutdown. However, you must be in good standing with them for the last 30 days.