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NCUA, CUNA, CUs Prepared For Government Interruption
WASHINGTON (10/1/13)--Federal workers walked away from their desks last night not knowing whether the U.S. government would be open for business this morning or not. But either way, the National Credit Union Administration on Monday said it would be open for business, and it encouraged credit unions to "maintain a state of readiness to help their members who may be affected by a potential government shutdown."

There was a midnight Sept. 30 deadline for the U.S. Congress to approve continued funding for the government and its programs. After long debate, Congress was unable to agree on bill, which means some agencies will be closed until action is taken.

The NCUA in a release Monday said it would remain open and unaffected in the event of a shutdown, and reminded credit union members that their member shares would still be insured to $250,000 per account, no matter what.

"Credit unions that serve federal workers and the military have responded before to members' financial needs resulting from furloughs, reimbursement delays, suspension of government programs or the closing of federal buildings housing branches. They need to prepare to do that once again," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said.

The Credit Union National Association also readied its own resources to help credit unions inform their members of available help in the event of a government shutdown. (Use the resource link.) CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said protecting and informing credit union members is CUNA's top concern when these events occur.

And credit unions, as they have done in the past, readied themselves to help members and consumers who could be impacted by a potential shutdown. (Use resource link for Sept. 27 News Now article: CUs In Place To Assist Federal Employees.) In these situations, many credit unions are prepared to offer short-term loans, work with members to restructure loans, and offer free financial counseling, among other services.

The NCUA has also cited its 2011 letter,which recommended credit unions:
  • Ensure policies provide flexibility to respond to members' financial needs;
  • Prepare for service interruptions if a shutdown affects access to credit union offices located in federal buildings;
  • Prudently work with affected members, including providing advances to individuals receiving direct deposits from the federal government;
  • Develop contingency plans with respect to participation in government programs that may be affected by a federal government shutdown;
  • Communicate response plans to members, staff and volunteers in a timely manner; and
  • Consider offering special programs to assist members who need short-term loans, create loans with special terms and rates, or offer payment flexibility.
As Congress debates spending measures, there are also some hearings of interest on the agenda this week that are expected to go on. Those hearings include:
  • A Tuesday House Financial Services Committee financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee hearing entitled "Examining Legislative Proposals to Reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau." CUNA will submit a statement for the record of this hearing;
  • A Tuesday Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled "Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of a Functioning Private Label Mortgage Backed Securities Market.";
  • A Wednesday Joint Economic Committee hearing entitled "The Economic Outlook.";
  • A House Judiciary regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law subcommittee hearing on the Dodd-Frank Act's impact on financial industry competition; and
  • A Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled "Rebuilding American Manufacturing."

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