Breaking: Washington Lawmakers Make Tentative Budget Deal

Update: June 28, 2017

Washington lawmakers reached a tentative agreement on a state budget, according to the office of Governor Jay Inslee. If the agreement passes by June 30 a threated partial shutdown of state government on July 1 will be avoided.

In the event of a shutdown, 32,000 state employees would be laid off without pay, and services millions of Washingtonians rely on would be suspended.

That’s a tough financial nut for most families to crack. But credit unions have their back.

“As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions have a rich history of helping their members navigate through the opportunities and challenges of life’s journeys,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “It is during difficult times such as plant closings, government shutdowns, and other emergencies where the cooperative financial services model shines through. While we are optimistic a state budget will be approved, Washington’s credit unions are prepared to help their members navigate these uncertain times.”

Olympia: Ground Zero

While the legislature works its way through its third special session of the year, Olympia-based WSECU is already assuring its members that the credit union is there for them.

“State Budget Worries? Come to Us,” is the headline on an online plan the credit union posted for its 255,400 members. Services WSECU will offer members impacted by a temporary work stoppage include options to skip loan payments, loan modifications, short term cash loans, work stoppage loans to fill gaps in employment, and financial counseling.

“We were founded by state employees, and they continue to be a special focus for us,” the statement says. “So when state employees need our help, we’re there.”

evergreenDIRECT Credit Union in Olympia is offering a similar plan to its members.

Nearby Tumwater-based O Bee Credit Union has also posted an online plan to ensure its members won’t face disruption in their finances.

Sound Credit Union has also reached out to its members who are state employees, alerting them to skip payment options that could help tide them over in the event of a financial emergency.

Standing Beside Members is What Credit Unions Do

At Spokane-based Global Credit Union, an infrastructure to help federal employees is already in place.

“We offered short-term, no interest loans to our military members, to cover any payroll gaps during the 2013 federal government sequestration, but ended up not needing to deploy the program since the military did not see a lapse in pay,” said Abigail Franklin, vice president of marketing and strategy. “We are prepared to offer similar assistance to state employees should the need arise.”

The 2013 sequestration hit the Shelton, Washington community hard. Area credit unions collaborated to offer financial relief to members, and through a series of town hall meetings, connected them to other available resources.

“People should know they’re not alone in these situations,” said Jim Morrell, President and CEO of Peninsula Credit Union. Morrell said if a planned government shutdown or unanticipated emergency impacts a member, Peninsula and other credit unions are always ready to demonstrate the “people helping people” philosophy.

Peninsula Credit Union has already informed its members of services that will be available in the event of a state government shutdown. Read Peninsula’s letter to members here: State Budget Concerns – PCU’s Here for You 6-26-17

“People find peace of mind when they know their credit union is always available to help provide personal financial management services,” Morrell said.

More information on the potential impact of a partial state government shutdown can be found on the Washington Office of Financial Management website.

Posted in Community Impact.