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LI credit unions, banks offering help to furloughed federal workers

Teachers Federal Credit Union is among the LI

Teachers Federal Credit Union is among the LI financial institutions offering help to furloughed federal workers. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Area banks and credit unions have launched special programs and services for federal workers who aren't being paid during the government shutdown, officials said.

They are offering to waive withdrawal fees on certificate of deposit accounts, defer payments on loans, and open interest-free personal loans designed to help workers get by without a paycheck.

The nearly 4-week-old stalemate over President Donald Trump’s demand for funding for a border wall affects about 800,000 employees. When it started, roughly 420,000 were told to work without being paid, and 380,000 others were sent home with no pay. Some of those numbers have shifted in the past week as agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service have called tens of thousands back to work.

There are roughly 16,000 federal jobs on Long Island; it's not known how many local workers are affected by the furlough.

Trump signed legislation this week to guarantee employees will be given back pay once the shutdown ends. 

Hauppauge-based Teachers Federal Credit Union said it is letting members affected by the shutdown skip one credit card payment and request a three-month extension on consumer loan payments.

Teachers is also offering personal loans of as much as $5,000 with no payments due for three months.

The credit union, which announced the program Monday, said it has reached out directly to about 1,000 members who it identified as federal employees. About 100 members have requested more information on the offers, Teachers said.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union said it has about 1,200 members who are federal workers.  “For anyone having trouble due to the federal shutdown, Bethpage is working with these members on an individual basis," said Linda Armyn, senior vice president at the credit union.

Westbury-based NEFCU and Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union are also allowing loan payment deferrals, interest-free loans, and certificate of deposit withdrawals without penalties.

Islandia-based Empire National Bank said it has allocated $2.5 million toward making interest-free short-term loans available to furloughed workers.

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