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TUKWILA, Wash. – In response to Hurricane Katrina and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union strike, BECU has recently activated its Income Interruption Program. The program provides temporary assistance to members of the credit union in meeting their “basic need” expenses for food, housing and medical care, according to the $5.5 billion CU. The CU has more than 1,300 members in the Gulf Coast states most affected by Hurricane Katrina, many of them based at Boeing’s Huntsville, Ala. plant. The machinists’ strike involves 18,400 workers, more than 16,000 of them in the Puget Sound area. Sept. 15 was the final regular payroll date for striking Boeing employees, the CU said. “In the first six days of this offer, more than 2,000 loans and deferrals have been granted,” said Gary Fee, BECU director of product delivery channel management. So far, more than 5,000 calls have been made asking about the program, Fee said. BECU members can apply for payment deferrals on existing auto, boat, personal and home equity loans, as well as apply for new personal loans to cover their “basic need” expenses. Car loans from other institutions can also be refinanced and payment deferred for up to 90 days. Free financial counseling and educational seminars are also available.

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