Banks Are Helping Federal Employees Currently Working Without Pay

Jan 15, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As the partial government shutdown stretches into its fourth week, the longest-ever stalemate in Washington, D.C.’s history is creating insanely long security lines at some of the country’s airports, painting apocalyptic scenes at national park restrooms and eating away at business’ bottom lines. Those impacts may create headaches for some of us, but the biggest victims in the government shutdown are the federal employees who are not being paid.

While some TPG readers have shown just how caring they are with questions about the ability to tip TSA employees, government workers need a lot more than tips. An analysis from The Washington Post revealed that approximately 110,000 of the employees earn less than $50,000 per year. Missing any paycheck can create serious financial stress.

Some banks are aiming to reduce those worries by offering assistance to government employees. Andy Aldridge, a senior vice president of corporate communications at BoA, told me that the bank is working to determine how to help government employees with a simple cash advance option with their credit cards. While I would usually put cash advances in the “never do this with your credit card” category, Aldridge indicated that BofA is aiming to create a system that lowers interest rates to give customers more attractive terms.

While those details aren’t finalized yet, Aldridge said that BofA customers can call the client assistance program at 844-219-0690 for the following help:

  • Waiving fees for credit cards and offering increases in credit lines
  • Waiving checking account overdraft fees
  • Waiving auto loan payments for up to two months
  • Waiving mortgage payments and home equity payments for up to three months

“We are not charging fees and are not reporting to credit bureaus,” Aldridge said.

Case-by-Case Basis

Other national banks and credit card issuers are offering assistance, too, and evaluating each customer’s financial situation. “Because every situation is different, Wells Fargo is assessing each customers’ individual needs and working with them on a solution,” Ann Wasik, a spokesperson for the bank told TPG. “The company offers options on all loan types to help customers avoid the negative consequences of missing a payment, such as late fees, negative credit reporting, auto repossession and foreclosure.”

Wasik said that Wells Fargo will not apply late charges or report negative behavior to credit bureaus for 90 days. In addition to waiving late fees, monthly service fees and a range of other standard customer expenses, Wasik said that Wells Fargo will work with credit card holders and mortgage customers to determine short- or long-term assistance options.

At PNC, customers who are impacted by the shutdown can also find some relief. Like Wells Fargo, the bank is reviewing each customer’s needs. Government employees should call 888-762-2265 to discuss their needs.

Small Banks Offer Big Assistance, Too

While nationally recognized credit card issuers are taking steps to help those in need, some smaller institutions are working to make a big impact too. For example, Colorado’s Alpine Bank set aside $5 million for a program that will offer six-month, 0% interest loans to government employees, and government employees at First Oklahoma Bank will still receive their paychecks. They’ll just be coming from the bank instead.

What to Do If You’re a Government Employee

If you’re missing your paycheck, you should call your bank to discuss options. Chase issued a statement inviting customers who have been impacted to contact the bank directly at 888-356-0023, while American Express, Capital One and Citi all have similar notices on their websites.

Even if your institution isn’t mentioned in this article, chances are that you’ll find some type of assistance from the phone number on the back of your credit card. And at TPG, our fingers are crossed that your paychecks return to normal very soon.

Featured image courtesy of Kevin Voelker Photography via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.