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Local bank offering loans to federal workers not getting paid

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    Federal employee Chris Black of Chicago participates in a rally against the government shutdown, held at Federal Plaza in Chicago on Thursday.



A Medina County financial institution is offering relief loans to local federal workers who will be among the thousands nationwide that will not receive a paycheck today due to the government shutdown.

About 800,000 federal employees affected by the stalemate in the nation’s capital that as shuttered government offices will undoubtedly have to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment or take out loans to stay afloat.

The West Salem-based Farmers State Bank wants to help and is offering a zero-percent interest line of credit, with no fees, to workers for as long as the shutdown continues.

“We are against harming hardworking individuals by actions of the government that they cannot control,” Farmers State President and CEO Marlene Barkheimer said in statement Thursday.

The offer is available to affected federal employees who currently reside in Medina, Ashland and Wayne counties and are current bank customers.

Barkheimer challenged other financial institutions to devise ways to assist affected government employees in their own areas.

“We will advance your net pay on your normal pay date,” Barkheimer further said. “No payments are due on this line of credit until after the government reopens.”

To qualify, applicants must be employed by federal departments or agencies affected by the shutdown and bring a government letter and most recent paystub.

This comes as the partial government shutdown enters its 21st day, stemming from a stalemate between President Donald Trump and Congress regarding Trump’s demands for the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Trump threatened on Thursday to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress if he can’t reach a deal with Democrats to fund the promised border wall.

It is not clear what a compromise might entail.

Trump said he won’t reopen the government without money for the wall. Democrats say they favor measures to bolster border security but oppose the long, impregnable walling that Trump envisions. He is asking $5.7 billion for wall construction.

In the meantime, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, joined a group of legislators in introducing the Federal Employee Relief Act on Thursday. If passed, the legislation would protect federal workers who are not receiving a paycheck from foreclosures, evictions and loan defaults.

“Workers and their families should not have to face losing their homes or defaulting on loans because of President Trump’s temper tantrum,” Brown said in a statement Thursday. “President Trump is hurting the people who make this country work, and he needs to do his job and reopen the government right now.”

“This legislation will help ease suffering among workers impacted by this unnecessary and avoidable shutdown,” Brown added.

The protection would last during the government shutdown, and include the 30 days following the shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills. The partial government shutdown is now in its third week, affecting federal workers in all 50 states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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