Warner asks banks about steps to help furloughed feds

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Following concerns raised by Virginia’s mayors, Sen. Warner inquired today whether lenders plan to extend and expand the assistance being offered to federal workers and contractors affected by the shutdown. In letters addressed to the six largest consumer banks and credit unions in the region, the senator also asked about any steps being taken to ensure that affected individuals are informed of their options.

 “The consequences of even a single missed paycheck—let alone two—can be severely devastating. Some federal workers and contractors don’t know how they will put food on the table, pay their electrical bills, or pay their mortgage,” wrote  Warner. “I continue to hear from those affected by the shutdown that they feel like they are without options to address their most pressing financial obligations while they wait for an end to the shutdown. What steps have you taken to publicize the assistance you are offering and how have you sought to ensure that those affected by the shutdown are aware of the assistance?”

 “Although affected federal employees are, at the very least, assured back pay, many still face trouble making ends meet until paychecks resume, and federal contractors see no relief in sight,” he continued. “The financial pain felt by all of these workers will increase exponentially as the shutdown continues.  Do you have any plans to increase the level of assistance to affected federal workers and contractors?”

 As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, more federal workers and contractors find themselves struggling financially. Many banks have already taken steps to help federal workers and contractors, such as making no-fee personal loans available, offering mortgage and loan forbearance, deferring payment obligations, and waiving or adjusting fees. As many federally-connected families confront the possibility of missing a second paycheck this Friday, they face an increasing financial pressure that may render many of them unable to pay their rent, mortgage or other critical personal obligations.

 On Monday, Warner hosted a phone call with Virginia’s mayors to hear the most pressing local concerns triggered by the government shutdown. Many of the mayors expressed worry that while cities were able to offer forbearance on municipal costs like water and electrical bills, that with a second missed paycheck fast approaching, many more of their constituents would soon be struggling to afford their housing costs and private sector loan payments such as mortgages.

 In addition to asking about extended assistance for those affected by the shutdown, Warner also acknowledged and thanked the CEOs for measures already in place. Letters were sent to the Chief Executive Officers of Bank of America Corp.CitigroupJPMorgan Chase & Co.U.S. Bancorp,Wells Fargo and Navy Federal Credit Union.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.