Local credit unions offer interest-free loans to furloughed government employees

Federal government employees that have been furloughed in Southern Nevada due to the ongoing government shutdown are being offered short-term, interest-free loans by several credit unions.

The $700 million One Nevada Credit Union in Las Vegas said it’s reaching out to furloughed federal civilian employees with an expedited loan to cover paycheck shortages up to $2,500. Requests for greater that $2,500 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

“Federal employees and their families are the innocent victims of the budget standoff in Washington,” said Brad Beal, president of One Nevada. “Having served those employees for many years, we are pleased to provide interest-free loans to help them through the crisis.”

All granted loans will be interest-free and due in full once normal government operations and earnings resume. To apply, federal civilian employees should visit any one of 14 branches with a copy of their Oct. 11 pay stub.

Since its launch on Friday, One Nevada has issued about two dozen loans, each averaging about $1,000.

Beal said he was hopeful the loan program also reduces the “impact of the budget impasse on the Nevada economy.” One Nevada is offering the loan program statewide to both members and nonmembers.

American First Credit Union, with 12 branches and ATMs in Southern Nevada and $5.9 billion in assets, will extend furloughed employees a personal loan of up to $3,000. The loan is available one time only and offers terms up to seven months, with one-month interest free.

“Since we launched on Friday, about 100 members have come in to ask about the loan,” said Rex Rollo, executive vice president and CFO of Salt Lake City-based America First Credit Union. “We know there is going to be high activity with this type of loan.”

Rollo said the average loan was between $1,300 and $1,600. He said those loan amounts indicate that they are probably being used to cover mortgage payments.

The Furlough Assistance Loan has a zero-interest rate for the first 30 days, and then a 4.99 percent interest rate that begins to accrue on day 31. Applicants can be members or non-member, but must provide proof of federal employment, by either bringing with them a recent paystub, military or government identification or a verified direct deposit from a federal employers.

“If it drags on, we have other things we can offer our members,” Rollo said. “We’ve had many government employees as members for years. This loan program is an unintended consequence of the government not acting appropriately.”

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csiertoy@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.