As the government shutdown stretches into week four, companies like Wells Fargo are beginning to offer relief to local federal workers.
More than 3,000 federal workers in Nevada are seeing their paychecks affected by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Transportation Security Administration officer Becky Esquivel is losing sleep over the shutdown, even with money saved in the bank. She said the last time she received payment for her work at McCarran International Airport was Dec. 28, and she has had to sign up for food stamps as she waits for her next paycheck.
“Everyone is kind of out of money, out of resources,” she said. “It’embarrassingng. I don’t want to have to ask my son for any money.”
To help alleviate customers’ financial stress, Wells Fargo is offering relief through fee reversals and waivers.
Tony Timmons, regional assistant vice president of corporate communications for the bank, said this is the first time Wells Fargo has offered such aid amid a shutdown.
“We’re in unprecedented territory here,” he said. “We’re not used to the government shutting down for this extended period of time.”
The company will automatically reverse employees’ monthly service or overdraft fees on their deposit account and late fees on their credit accounts. It is also offering loan options to help avoid missing payments and will not apply late charges for mortgage and home equity customers for up to 90 days.
Timmons said the company is there to support affected customers “as long as the need is there.”
“We’ve got two national park services around us, (Bureau of Land Management) property around us. Our folks in Nevada are affected by a government shutdown, and we want to be there to support them,” he said. “We understand now that they’ve had their first missed paycheck that they could really use the support.”
Wells Fargo also announced a $250,000 donation to United Way Worldwide’s United for U.S. Coalition, an effort to support communities hit by the shutdown.
In all, about 800,000 employees across the nation are working with their paychecks on hold.
“It’s really a nice feeling to know that we’re not in this alone,” Esquivel said. “People are stepping up, companies are stepping up to help us.”
Wells Fargo customers can learn more at the new customer assistance line at 800-219-9739 or through its government shutdown assistance page.