Interest-free Loans Offered to Affected Workers
TELLURIDE – In the wake of the first government shutdown in nearly twenty years, Alpine Bank is offering some relief to Western Slope federal employees directly affected by the Washington budget crisis. Last week, the rapidly growing Colorado-based bank with 36 branches throughout the Western Slope, including branches in Montrose, Ouray, Ridgway and Telluride, announced a $13 million lending program that offers interest-free loans to out-of-work federal employees.
Furloughed federal employees showing up at any Alpine Bank location with valid IDs and the stub from their last paycheck will receive the amount of that last paycheck, interest-free (they need not hold Alpine Bank accounts); payments on the loan don’t begin until the federal government reopens.
In addition to offering interest-free loans, the bank is offering a one-payment deferment to any furloughed employees with Alpine Bank credit cards.
“While the politicians battle politics, Alpine Bank would rather take steps to care for our own,” bank officers announced in a press release. “Alpine Bank sees no benefit in pointing fingers or placing blame. We would rather do everything we can to help struggling local federal workers and their families. They can pay us back when the government shutdown is resolved.”
Alpine Bank offered a similar program during 1995 federal shutdown , which lasted 21 days.
The $13 million is a good starting point said Alpine Bank San Juan Regional President Andrew Karnow. “The last shutdown lasted more than 20 days, and if this shutdown lasts longer than that, the bank will reevaluate the program and decide if we should lengthen it.”
Much of the federal government, the nation’s largest employer (with 40,000 furloughed workers in Colorado alone), shut down last week due to disagreement between Congress and the White House over funding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Even as 800,000 federal workers were sent home, or required to go to work but without clear indication as to whether or not they would be paid, the House and Senate leadership appear unwilling to budge from their respective positions, exacerbating the fragility of the nation’s economy.