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Montana Credit Unions Helping Furloughed Members During Government Shutdown

A woman a dog sit next to a pile of bills. Stock photo.
A woman a dog sit next to a pile of bills. Stock photo.

Many of Montana’s 51 credit unions are helping lighten the financial burden for members affected by the partial government shutdown.

James Carter is Vice President of Lending and Member Services for the Great Falls-based Montana Federal Credit Union. MFCU serves 22,000 accounts in Cascade, Choteau and Teton counties. Carter estimates about 5 percent of its members are directly or indirectly affected by the federal furlough.

“I would say that easily half are probably living paycheck to paycheck.”

Most of Montana’s credit unions are now offering a variety of initiatives to help their furloughed members make it through the shutdown. Those range from waived late fees to allowing skipped loan payments and fee reversals for nonsufficient funds or overdrafts.

“When people come, you can see they're visibly upset," Carter says. "They’re shaking, they're worried about, obviously, they have kids. They've got financial obligations. This shutdown has got to end.”

Carter says Montana’s credit unions are happy to help their furloughed members for as long as possible, but adds they’ll eventually have to re-evaluate those special offers if the shutdown drags on for several more weeks.

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