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CUs Come To The Rescue With Sequestration Aid
MADISON, Wis. (7/24/13)--Federal budget limitations in the U.S. are leading to many employee furloughs this summer. Credit unions are responding to requests from members for help with lighter paychecks.
Robins FCU in Warner Robins, Ga., with assets of $1.74 billion, is offering members who work at the Robins Air Force Base several services to help them through their furlough periods. They include special furlough loans, refinancing car loans, home mortgage-loan assistance, a skip-a-payment option and extending terms of current loans (The Telegraph July 18). 
Because federal budget cuts resulted in 11-week furlough period that began last week, employees at the base are being furloughed one day per week through September, which cuts their pay for that period by 20%, The Telegraph said.
CBC FCU, a $405 million asset, Oxnard, Calif.-based credit union, is providing a line of credit for about 5,000 civilian employees at Naval Base Ventura County to help them get through furloughs (Ventura County Star July 12).  
The credit line is available for up to two months of applicants' net pay, Patrick Miller, CBC FCU president/CEO, told the Star. If the line of credit is repaid by the end of 2014, financing is interest free. After that it converts to 9.9% interest, he added.
Other sequestration-aid programs by credit unions include:
  • SAC FCU in Bellevue, Neb., will offer many tools for financial management to assist members facing pay decreases due to the furloughs. The $675 million asset SAC will provide financial counseling, loan modifications, skip-pay options, emergency short-term loans, and no penalty for early withdrawal of share certificates, the credit union said in a release. "Our goal is to serve our members, whatever the situation," said SAC FCU President/CEO Gail DeBoer.
  • Keys FCU, in Key West, Fla., with $124 million in assets, is offering those affected by sequestration the ability to skip one payment on an existing loan for no additional fee, penalty-free withdrawal on share certificates, a debt review to help members reduce their monthly expenses, and a sequester loan in which members can borrow up to $5,000 at 1% annual percentage yield for 36 months (The Key West Citizen July 21).
  • Northern CU in Watertown, N.Y., this month began assistance programs to help civilian employees at Fort Drum manage reduced paychecks, owing to an 11-week furlough period that began the week of July 8 (Watertown Daily Times July 22). The programs at the $188 million asset credit union include 60-day no-interest loans, 30-day loan deferment, loan refinancing and financial consulting.

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