U.S. Bank steps up with low-interest loans for furloughed federal workers


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Customers of U.S. Bank who are affected by the partial government shutdown are getting offered some relief.

On Friday, the bank announced that it would be offering “a new low-rate, quick loan” product specifically for federal employees in need of assistance during the shutdown.

The shutdown, which is now the longest in history, has left hundreds of thousands of workers without paychecks. As bank balances begin to dwindle, some workers have started filing for unemployment in hopes to make ends meet.

Details on U.S. Bank’s assistance

U.S. Bank is offering qualified federal employees short-term personal loans of from $100 to $6,000. Customers with any U.S. Bank product, including mortgages, auto loans or the bank’s credit cards are welcome to apply for the new product.

“U.S. Bank is committed to doing the right thing for our customers,” said Andy Cecere, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bank, in the bank’s announcement. “We understand the financial pressure that many of our customers who serve our nation are now facing and we’re here to help.”

The loans are being offered at a 0.01 percent APY on a 12-month term, and loan approval is dependent upon credit approval and program guidelines.

The special loan is not available to federal contract workers affected by the shutdown.

To apply for U.S. Bank’s loan, customers should call its designated federal government shutdown line at 877.760.6046.

A spokesperson for U.S. Bank told Bankrate in an emailed statement that customers with U.S. Bank checking accounts, who receive the loans, can expect them to hit their account “within a few hours.” Those who do not have a checking account with the bank will receive an expedited cashier’s check.

The bank’s announcement comes after regulators, including the FDIC and Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, encouraged institutions to work with borrowers affected by the government shutdown.

“As they have in prior shutdowns, the agencies encourage financial institutions to consider prudent efforts to modify terms on existing loans or extend new credit to help affected borrowers,” the regulators said in a statement.

Bankrate has contacted U.S. Bank for additional information.

What other banks are doing to offer relief

U.S. Bank isn’t the only institution offering assistance to federal workers in need. A number of other banks are stepping up to help workers make it through the shutdown, whose end is uncertain.

For example, Citigroup will make adjustments to fees and interest rates of affected customers, as reported by American Banker. Bank of America reportedly notified eligible customers of assistance programs, and also donated $10,000 to an emergency assistance fund to help furloughed workers with food, rent and utility payment assistance.

Wells Fargo has launched a shutdown assistance website to help customers navigate its wide range of products. In an emailed statement to Bankrate, a spokesperson confirmed that the bank would automatically reverse monthly service and overdraft fees for any employee affected by the shutdown. Additionally, the bank will work on a case-by-case basis to help customers who are having difficulty making their loan payments.

For a list of lenders offering personal loan relief, click here.