Credit Unions Prep as Shutdown Looms
Several credit unions have announced their plans for a possible government shutdown while Congress continues to debate the contents of a spending bill that would keep the government funded after Monday night at midnight.
The $2.3 billion Service Credit Union in Portsmouth, N.H., said it would credit direct deposit for military and DOD GS members affected by the pending government shutdown through its Government Shutdown Guaranteed Pay program.”
Under the program, the amount of military or DOD GS pay would be automatically deposited into the member’s account, “based on the last received direct deposit to the credit union,” the 176,000-member Service CU said in a press release.
“At Service Credit Union, we strongly believe that our military – active duty, Guard, Reserve and retirees are most important to us and the safety of our great country,” President/CEO Gordon Simmons said in the release.
“We wish to ensure that they do not encounter any financial hardship, inconvenience and/or financial harm due to the looming government shutdown,” Simmons said.
As a government shutdown looms, the $54.4 billion Navy FCU in Vienna, Va., has pledged to cover all of the direct deposits of their active duty members.
"Our number one concern is our members and their families. That’s why we’re pledging to cover the direct deposits for our active duty members,” President/CEO Cutler Dawson said in a statement. “By covering their 15 October pay, our active duty members will not see a difference in their direct deposit amount—as if there were no shutdown.”
On the West Coast, the $696 million Pacific Marine Credit Union said it, too, would post the Oct. 15 government employee payrolls for members with direct deposit.
“With the government’s authority to spend money expiring on September 30th the paychecks of a large portion of PMCU’s membership base are in jeopardy, including active duty and retired military, Department of Defense appropriated and non-appropriated, Social Security and disability,” PMCU said in a statement.
The state-chartered credit union was created in 1952 to serve Camp Pendleton and now is open to anyone living or working in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
If the federal government closes, the $599 million Justice FCU in Chantilly, Va., announced that it would offer low-interest loans and deferred payments for their members who require assistance after losing income due to a shutdown or furlough.
“Justice FCU Members confronted with a shutdown, sequestration or furlough will be offered special unsecured loans up to $10,000 at an annual rate of 0% for the first 60 days. After that time, the rate will convert to 4.90% for a term of 24-months. The loan amount will be based on the Member’s net pay deposit, with direct deposit required,” said a JFCU press release.
“In addition, members may defer their first loan payment for up to 60 days.
Existing members with a Justice FCU consumer loan, or VISA credit card, may request one payment deferral per loan. The credit union will make every effort to work with Members who may be struggling,” the release also said.
The $15.8 billion Pentagon FCU in Alexandria, Va., told Credit Union Times that it was monitoring the situation on Capitol Hill closely and would make changes to their programs if necessary.
“Since we are a member-owned organization, and not a government agency, PenFed’s daily operations will continue to function as normal. PenFed's number one priority is to always be here for our members and we already have a variety of existing programs in place to help our members if the need should ever arise—regardless of the type of event or personal matter," James Schenck, president, PenFed Group, told Credit Union Times.
"However, we are keeping our eye on the current situation and we will adjust our programs accordingly, if necessary, to address the financial challenges and impact the government shutdown may have on some of our members,” Schenk said.
All federal programs considered essential would continue functioning during a government shutdown while non-essential programs would come to a halt.
“Social Security checks and veterans' benefits would still go to recipients, but they could go out late, since there would be fewer workers to process them,” CBS News reported.
“Additionally, passport and visa applications could be put on hold, as well as small business and home mortgage lending programs. National parks and museums would be closed.”
According to a Sept. 23 Department of Defense memo, "While military personnel would continue in a normal duty status, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed."
One agency that said it would not shutter its doors if the government shuts down is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“CFPB is not funded through Congressional appropriations and would therefore not be directly impacted by a government shutdown,” a CFPB spokesperson said.