Navy Federal Credit Union is one of several local credit unions offering interest-free loans to federal workers who could miss paychecks due to a government shutdown.JOANNE S. LAWTON
Washington is bracing for the increasing likelihood that the federal government will shut down next week, and how long a shutdown will last is anybody’s guess.
There are some 370,000 thousand federal workers in the District, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia and many of them could face furloughs or have their paychecks put on hold until there’s a plan in place to fund the government. In the meantime, credit unions based in Greater Washington who serve significant numbers of federal employees are standing ready to offer interest-free personal loans and lines of credit to those who need them.
Vienna-based Navy Federal Credit Union, which serves active-duty and retired service members and their families, said that it will offer paycheck advances to customers who are “paid directly by the Federal government” and who are paid through direct deposit. The loans are interest-free and don’t have to be repaid for 60 days, though the credit union said terms could change depending on the length of the shutdown. Customers have until three days after their first missed paycheck to apply for the advances.
“In the event of a government shutdown, we want to provide our members with peace of mind,” Pete Amstutz, senior vice president of savings and membership at Navy Federal, said in a news release.
The $165 billion-asset Navy Federal, the world’s largest credit union, also said government contractors who are not directly employed by the federal government could also be eligible for interest-free deposit advances “if their direct deposit of pay is received directly from the federal government.”
Last time the government shut down for 35 days in late 2018 and early 2019, Navy Federal issued loans to 20,000 affected customers, it said.
McLean-based PenFed Credit Union, with $35 billion in assets, is offering interest-free loans up to $6,000 for qualifying members whose paycheck is delayed due to the government shutdown. As at Navy Federal, customers must have direct deposit to be eligible for that program. For members who don’t have direct deposit but are affected by the shutdown, it’s offering low-interest rate loans through the furlough period, while also offering government employees who have loans with PenFed the option to defer loan payments or modify loan terms.
Congressional Federal Credit Union issued $1.5 million in furlough relief loans to its members during previous government shutdowns, according to its website. Now, the $1.3 billion-asset credit union based in Oakton is offering a handful of relief programs on an ongoing basis for furloughed employees, including a line of credit that has zero-percent-interest for an initial 60 day period, after which the rate will rise to 4% for 36 fixed monthly payments. It is also waiving early certificate withdrawal penalties and allowing members to defer payment on some existing loans.