SEATTLE -- Thousands of federal workers still aren’t getting paid because of the government shutdown, but some of them may have another way to make ends meet until it reopens.
A Seattle-based bank is offering federal workers who need money right now a 0% interest loan.
Washington Federal, headquartered in downtown Seattle, says they know times can be hard for everybody, but especially for those government workers who aren’t being paid. They designed a loan program they say may help remove some of the financial stress during the Shutdown.
“They are just caught in the middle. They have done nothing wrong but doing their jobs day in and day out,” said Brent J. Beardall, CEO of Washington Federal.
Beardall wants federal workers to know they’re not alone and as the government shutdown drags on, the bank is finding ways to give them the financial help they need.
“So we designed this program that we call our Quick Relief program for impacted government workers. Basically, it’s designed to replace up to six pay checks and we give them a loan that would be 90 days interest free and we all hope that within 90 days this situation is resolved," Beardall said.
He says after the 90-day period, the loan’s interest rate will be 5% for the rest of the year. It increases and caps at 10% during the 2nd year and must be paid in full in three years. The program launched this week and already has over 150 loans being processed in eight states, including Washington.
While Washington Federal offers workers a safe way to pay their bills, scammers are trying to take full advantage of their hardship.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a notice Friday warning federal workers to look out for payday loan, tax return and unemployment scams related to the Shutdown. Ferguson recommends workers borrow from family members, ask creditors for more time to pay or get a small loan from the bank.
“These people are very stressed out when they come here because they are going through, as Brent said, a situation that’s not under their control,” said Patty Carmen, Asst. Mgr. for Washington Federal in downtown Seattle.
Any federal worker can apply for the Quick Relief loan. It only requires you open a Washington Federal checking account, including Free Checking, and that you provide a pay stub to prove you’re a government employee.
“They’re living pay check to pay check. Some of us forget how that feels. Just to have a little bit of support to get them through this, has been just amazing listening to them,” Carmen said.
For more information about Washington Federal’s loan program for federal workers, go to www.washingtonfederal.com