With thousands of federal employees going without pay during the government shutdown, some banks are offering ways to give furloughed workers a break.
TD Bank, for example, has created TD Cares, a three-pronged program to help customers who work for the federal government. Through the program, which will run from Oct. 10 to Nov. 2, or until the government shutdown ends, the bank will advance customers up to $1,000, waive credit card late fees, and adjust mortgage payments — many which are due around this time of the month — on a case-by-case basis.
On Tuesday, about 800,000 federal workers nationwide, or approximately 41 percent of nondefense employees, were furloughed by the government shutdown. An estimated 45,000 federal employees work in Massachusetts, according to the Labor Department, although it is unclear how many have been furloughed.
“We’ve definitely seen customers call or walk into the stores with concerns so we wanted to get the program out there to really meet their needs,” said Ryan Bailey, head of retail deposit products at TD Bank. “That’s why we really pushed this out there as of today.”
To qualify for program, customers need a TD Bank account that has been in good standing for at least 60 days, a government ID, and a furlough letter to qualify.
Bailey said customers are encouraged so sign up as soon as possible.
TD Bank serves about 8 million customers in 15 states and Washington, D.C.
Beyond TD Bank’s formal program, other institutions said they are assisting customers on a case-by-case basis. Bank of America, the largest bank in Massachusetts and one of the largest in the nation, is encouraging furloughed workers to contact the customer assistance program, said Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman.
The customer assistance centers run year round, and help clients struggling to make loan and mortgage payments.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to help any customers who are facing difficulty as a result of the shutdown,” Pace said. “Every situation is different so we ask that if a customer is having difficulty that they call us.”
Citizens Bank, which has branches in 12 states, will waive fees for customers affected by the federal payroll freeze and allow customers to cash certificates of deposit early without incurring a fee, said spokesman Jim Hughes.
“We routinely work with customers to help them manage financial challenges,” Hughes said. “We are developing a program to assist customers who may be impacted by the federal government shutdown.”Emily Overholt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find her on Twitter follow @emilyoverholt