During the Longest Government Shutdown in History, Northwest Credit Unions Stood Beside Members


Spokane Federal Credit Union started in 1956 when seven volunteers stepped up to serve the financial needs of their fellow federal government employees. In response to the government shutdown 63 years later, the Washington-based credit union stepped up once again to support their members and the community. 

“It is at the very core of our mission to support our members and be available to them in times of personal growth and in times of need,” said Spokane Federal President and CEO Charlotte Nemec. “Spokane Federal Credit Union is committed to being a strong community partner and appreciates our local, federal employees.” 

To help those members access cash, the credit union developed the LifeLine Loan for an amount up to the amount of their regular monthly net check. The loan was available to all federal employees who did not receive a paycheck due to the shutdown, even those who weren’t a member of Spokane Federal. In total, the credit union booked 48 Life Loans, 13 skip-a-payments, three interest-only loans, and opened 30 new memberships. 

A similar story played out in credit unions across the Northwest. A Credit Union National Association survey revealed how Northwest credit unions joined the effort, with many offering low or no-interest loans, payroll advances, or individualized financial solutions.  

Nationally, more than 500 credit unions around the country provided support, including more than $46 million in low or no-interest loans to over 60,000 credit union members, according to research by CUNA. 
USAgencies Credit Union President and CEO, Jim Lumpkin reported that in addition to offering skip payments and a 60-day furlough loan, the credit union contacted government agencies and union representatives with information on their assistance program. As a result, the Oregon-based credit union wrote a total of $98,000 in furlough loans. 

“We had some members who were going through payday lenders and we talked to them about that, about what we’re here for – to help them through their financial life,” said Lumpkin. “That was something we were very proud to be able to do.” 

Credit unions were founded on the philosophy of “People Helping People,” and are guided by this philosophy in their service to members and the community. At Northwest Credit Union Association’s recent Oregon’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol, State Treasurer Tobias Read said credit unions, like the treasurer’s office, have a mission to help people build the financial future they want. 

“There’s great evidence of that in the recent federal government shutdown, and all that you did in stepping up to help your members in all of our communities, waiving fees, extending deadlines, offering low and no cost loans,” said Read. “My thanks go out to you for helping the Oregon economy.” 

Posted in Community Impact.