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Pritzker, Frerichs announce loan program for furloughed federal workers

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019

* Since this will be run through the state’s linked deposit program, the only state cost will be lost investment returns…

Governor JB Pritzker joined Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs to announce a $100 million program to fund zero or low-interest loans so furloughed federal workers who live in Illinois can pay their bills during the partial federal government shutdown.

In addition, the Governor called on lenders doing business in the State of Illinois to waive fees and provide other support to furloughed workers, especially as they deal with mortgage payments, student loans and car loans. Lenders that have already agreed to participate are listed online at; their assistance ranges from deferments on loans to 0 percent interest to assisting individuals on a case-by-case basis.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is also offering winter heating assistance to qualified federal workers through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Federal workers whose last 30 day income has been impacted by the federal shutdown can find a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administering agencies and additional information about the programhere, or call the LIHEAP toll-free hotline at 1‑877‑411-WARM (9276).

More than 8,000 federal employees who live in Illinois have been affected by the partial shutdown that began Dec. 22. Nationally, the figure is more than 800,000.

“Through no fault of their own, federal employees living in Illinois are not receiving their paychecks while expenses continue to pile up,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We have an obligation as a state to do everything we can to help those paying a direct price for the actions of the president. This loan program will help those struggling to meet their day-to-day expenses as the shutdown drags on. My administration is continuing to explore all possible options to shore up critical services that receive federal funding, to make sure our most vulnerable families are protected from the harm the Trump shutdown might cause, and to assist impacted federal employees.”

The “linked” deposit loan program will be run by the Treasurer’s office in partnership with various banks and credit unions across the state. The Treasurer’s office will make deposits in participating financial institutions, allowing these institutions to provide below-market rates to federal workers who qualify for the program. For example, the state might offer a deposit at 0.01 percent if the financial institution agrees to loan out the money to federal works at 0.0 percent. Specific rates and terms of eligibility will vary by institution.

“This program will help bring relief for working families impacted by this impasse,” said Treasurer Michael Frerichs. “The President shut down the federal government and threatened the livelihood of thousands of families in Illinois to play political games. Difficult policy debates are a hallmark of government, but we cannot let our disagreements hurt working families who want nothing more than to pay their bills, raise a family, and save for the future.”

“The Illinois Bankers Association’s 300 member banks stand with Governor Pritzker in his call to assist workers who are struggling with the federal government shutdown,” said Linda Koch, President & CEO, Illinois Bankers Association. “We are proud that banks throughout Illinois are offering help to federal employees and other businesses and individuals affected by the shutdown.”

“On behalf of the IBA Board of Directors, I thank Governor Pritzker for his leadership and call to action on this serious matter,” said Daniel P. Daly, Illinois Bankers Association Chairman and President & CEO, SENB Bank, Moline. “Illinois’ banking community takes pride in serving the needs of our customers, and certainly those individuals and businesses impacted by the shutdown are no exception. Our bank, and all Illinois banks, stand ready to help our customers through this hardship.”

“Based on the makeup of the membership, we have a number of the 270 credit unions in Illinois with a significant percentage of federal workers as members,” said Tom Kane, President Illinois Credit Union League. “Many of these credit unions have implemented formal programs to assist federal workers with special low or no interest payroll interruption loans, skip-a-payment options, or waiving penalties for cashing in a CD early. In addition, I would urge any furloughed federal employee who is a member of a credit union to stop into a branch and ask what they can do to help during this challenging time.”

A partial list of participating banks and credit unions offering assistance are below:

    1st Mid America
    Bank of America
    BMO Harris
    Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU)
    Community Plus Federal Credit Union
    First Midwest Bank
    Heartland Credit Union
    Home State Bank
    IH Mississippi Credit Union (IHMVCU)
    KCT Credit Union
    R.I.A. Federal Credit Union
    Scott Credit Union
    JP Morgan Chase
    SENB Bank
    SIU Credit Union
    University of Illinois Community Credit Union
    U.S. Bank
    U.S. Employee Credit Union
    Wells Fargo
    Vibrant Credit Union

A full list services being provided by participating banks can be found here and participating credit unions can be found here. For more information on aid for federal workers during the shutdown visit the governor’s website at The site will be updated periodically with additional information.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    This is what I like to see. Gotta love when rhetoric is paired with concrete solutions. Great ideas that can really help some of the folks hurt by this federal shutdown.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    Good plan, good idea, good politics.

    The loss of investment monies will be measured by the gains of being human and decent to… hostages.

    Embarrassing that this is even out there… by POTUS’ actions.

    POTUS owns it. He told us.

  3. - Dome Gnome - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    This is a shockingly quick response time. Good work.

  4. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    Nice move. Governor.

  5. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    ….direct actions of the president. I wonder if all the participating banks and credit unions are laying all the blame at the feet of POTUS.

  6. - Nick - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    It’s so weird to have a Governor who cares again.

  7. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Deep heartfelt thanks for this work and outreach. One question though, will they/could they extend this to furloughed federal contractors’ employees, too? Feds will eventually get paid, but those people are being hurt much worse in many cases.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Good idea, quick work.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    Unreal. What’s happening is horrible, but normal in today’s GOP. Trump pulled a Rauner, holding the budget hostage for a ridiculous demand that he can’t get. If we lived in a past time, very recently, Trump’s admission that he’s responsible for shutting down government and his willingness to take the blame would likely severely damage him politically. We live in a sad new world, where the American POTUS, the First Adult of the world, constantly acts like a bratty child and gets away with it.

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    –I wonder if all the participating banks and credit unions are laying all the blame at the feet of POTUS.–

    Yeah, so worried about that. That Trump would actually get blamed for something after he reneged on his previous agreement and took credit for it on live TV.

    Working stiffs not getting paid, not so much.

  11. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    Kudos to JB and Frerichs

  12. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    Good work to both! If anyone out there is interested in helping federal workers, check into if your local food shelter is offering support. I know that Chicagoland food shelters have kicked things into overdrive to handle the influx of people in need. They need financial and food donations!

  13. - Nanker Phelge - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    I think it is wrong for the Governor to be blaming this on the President. So much for striving to be bipartisan. The Governor ought to be more neutral. After all, the President has shown more willingness to negotiate. the Democrats in Congress will only negotiate on their terms. Trump has at least shown that he is willing to compromise.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===I think it is wrong for the Governor to be blaming this on the President===

    “I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” [President Trump] said. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”

  15. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    I have very little idea what kind of discretion the Treasurer has to spend money. Evidently he can do this? Just create a program and make payments to banks to convince them to loan to furloughed workers, without the GA doing anything? If so he evidently has a lot of discretion. Unless they’re trying to fit it in under some existing appropriation, meaning following the letter of the law but probably not the spirit. It’s a good idea, I love it, but it seems weird he can just do this.

  16. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    I’ll show Wells Fargo a thing or two. Thats the last time i give them my social security number.

  17. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    Nice move. How did they choose the advertised financial institutions?

  18. - Earnest - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    Good to see, nicely done.

  19. - Partisan Rich - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    Hey Rich I bet if the Dem candidate shutdown the govt you’d close the comment sections. Sore loser!

  20. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    Federal workers need this help desperately. This is wonderful.

  21. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===I bet if the Dem candidate shutdown the govt you’d close the comment sections===

    That makes no sense.

  22. - Fixer - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    Smaller force of Trumpkins than I anticipated here for this one. I don’t care about the rhetoric with this. It’s good to see a governor take actions that will help those in need, as opposed to trying to do more harm to them.

    Nice change of pace from the last four years of hostage taking.

  23. - Lost in Chicago - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    Curious to see how many actually qualify. Nice move politically, but these are not guaranteed. It is still up to each bank and their lending guidelines. But it’s kinda sad that we are still making residents pay interest for something that is “no fault of their own.”

  24. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Hate to disagree with the commentators, but actually think this is a terrible idea. Apparently being a government employee allows you special loan rates that your average layed off worker doesn’t get.
    I appreciate the compassion, but disagree with setting up a “ruling class” benefit for some. We have enough problems payongn for people who are in need without spending time and money this way.
    This kind of attitude by people in government had a lot to do with Trump got elected in the first place.
    In many communities and families you will find many people who will help out nieghbors, fellow church members or family members. For those that don’t have those kinds of connections we already have safety nets in place.

  25. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    No snark: Could the Treasurer have made these loans without using financial institutions?

  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    Dirty Red, that’s just how linked deposit works. And the treasurer’s office doesn’t have the people to hand out small loans like these. The banks and credit unions do.

  27. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    Amalia- Go to the Il Bankers Assoc. here

    It talks about how banks can join up with this assistance. I didn’t check the credit unuion site, but their group may have the same thing, too.

  28. - Another - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    “We have enough problems payongn for people who are in need without spending time and money this way.”

    If a federal employee applies for unemployment benefits during a shutdown, and it eventually paid retroactively, then those benefits ( in most cases, and definitely here in Illinois) must be repaid. Most federal employees do not have a 1 month or more cushion to pay all their bills. And, it looks more and more likely that this will drag on through a 3rd pay period. This program being implemented byJB and Frierichs is not a hand out, it’s a recognition that Illinois can and will do better. If fed employees can use this program I stress of unemployment, then that does free up mores IDES dollars for those who need it more, don’t ya think???

  29. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    The Another post above was me. Darn autocorrect.

  30. - cover - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    = Apparently being a government employee allows you special loan rates that your average layed off worker doesn’t get. =

    These workers are NOT laid off, and Trump has already signed a bill that guarantees that these federal employees will be paid retroactively once the shutdown ends. Makes you wonder why there is a shutdown in the first place, if everyone (other than the contractors) is going to get paid…

  31. - illinifan - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    Back to the Future - the difference here is the people are not laid off. Many have to go to work and still not receive their pay timely. If they apply for UI and then later get the backpay they will have to repay the UI. Their being government employees is not elitist or special. Their situation however is unique thus generating a different response.

  32. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    Amalia, the treasurer’s office has a link to how banks can apply for the linked deposit program here. I assume this program follows the same process(?)

  33. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    I’m happy for them. I’m sure it’s awful to get a zero paycheck. But what about the state workers who have lost so much more over 3.5 years? We just finished a well-deserved gofundme for one of them. Where’s our relief, JB? Really hoping “as soon as possible” doesn’t turn out to be years.

  34. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    @ Anon221 and Perrid, thanks. i know that in general credit unions have wonderful loan programs for their members so I’m betting many are doing this work even if not named. I’m hoping more get named.

  35. - Uncle Ernie - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    Thanks to the Governor and the Treasurer, that is a fine gesture to help people that are caught in a childish fight caused by POTUS.

  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    Pritzker has already stated that he will comply with the law, Anon@3:29

  37. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    = And the treasurer’s office doesn’t have the people to hand out small loans like these. The banks and credit unions do. =

    Good point. Good idea.

  38. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 4:26 pm:

    Anon@3:40 I know and I’m happy about it. I’m just nervous because there’s no timetable and I’ve seen movies like this before.

  39. - Bill Baar - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    “Back to the Future” has it right. I was furloughed many times and went and filed for unemployment. Singling out a class of workers for a special loan program is going to come back on the Guv if another company goes through layoffs.

  40. - Mama - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 4:49 pm:

    Thanks Rich, this is wonderful news.

  41. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    Bit of history … at least once during my State government career, during a budget stalemate, the Comptroller issued what were, in effect, IOU’s (I don’t remember the term the State used then) instead of valid warrants (checks). At least in Springfield, the local banks and S&L’s decided to treat the IOU’s as valid and gave full credit (in effect a zero interest loan) to their existing bank customers. Don’t remember if this was just one or if it was two payroll cycles. The banks knew the IOU’s would eventually be honored at face value, so they weren’t at much risk.

    So there is a precedent of sorts for banks to offer zero interest loans to still working government employees that don’t get paid as scheduled. It wasn’t subsidized by the State then, it was just good business for loyal customers

  42. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 5:20 pm:

    All Schumer and Pelosi need to say is “you had the congress for 2 years as President, and now you demand a wall or shutdown the gov?”

    Maybe they are saying it, but not enough.

  43. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 5:39 pm:

    I have no issues with the program. However, the release doesn’t specify the cost to taxpayers and it also doesn’t provide any concrete examples of what banks are doing and what loan terms are. Given the lack of details, it seems like this is more “feel good” and “politics” than anything else.

    And, both parties have failed at immigration reform and both parties have failed in terms of the shutdown/reopen. And, for the record, Trump’s got an offer on the table. Dems - crickets…

  44. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 7:06 pm:

    I’m not a big fan of hostage takers making offers to release their hostages be it Rauner with Unions or Trump and his magic wall.

  45. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 8:28 pm:

    Whats stinks is that these folks dont get unemployment. If ya wanna use people as pawns. Be decent about it.

  46. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 9:50 pm:

    –Apparently being a government employee allows you special loan rates that your average layed off worker doesn’t get.–

    They’re not laid off. They can’t file for unemployment.

    It’s more like if the South had won the Civil War.

  47. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 9:57 pm:

    For those worried about the cost to the state, linked deposits are collateralized. They are simply a form of time deposit that is using the liquidity of the state portfolio to free up capital. Taxpayer money is not at risk.

  48. - Seats - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 10:31 pm:

    To Back to the Future & Bill Baar:

    This isn’t really comparable. In the private sector if you are laid off you would be eligible for unemployment. The federal employees who are being forced to work without pay are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

  49. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 11:31 pm:

    Mrs Blue and myself bought a pizza and a beer for a Dept of Labor employee. He said he is deemed non essential and does not report to work during these shutdowns. He told us that the a federal govt does not pay into the unemployment pool and he cannot apply for it. He also stated this is his sixth shutdown of his 29 yr career. I don’t know if everything he said was factual but he didn’t seem like a fibber. Anyone out there know the truth.

  50. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 19 @ 11:59 pm:

    –Anyone out there know the truth.–

    Any honest person who’s not a sad troll desperately filling the hours until the inevitable knows the truth that these employees are about to miss their second paycheck, which has never happened before.

    Or, any fourth-grader who can type “google.”

  51. - Anon221 - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 1:31 am:

    If a federal employee is considered non-essential and furloughed, they can apply for unemployment benefits, but must repay any benefits received back once they are paid retroactively after the shutdown ends. In 2013, during that shutdown, some of those unemployment checks weren’t even processed and issued until the shutdown was over. Granted, that was only a “short” shutdown compared to this one.

    The problems that are occurring are in this uncharted shutdown are for the eligibility of essential and on-call federal employees and their eligibility for unemployment benefits. So, programs like this one with the banks and credit unions could be a much better alternative than unemployment benefits.

  52. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 4:54 am:

    Annon21. Thanks. Very well put.

  53. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 9:08 am:

    Lots of well reasoned concerns. I learned a lot, but still think this is a bad idea.
    Most of the folks who response to polls on how long they can get by without a paycheck show we all just don’t save enough.
    The problems that Federal employees face are probably going to show up in the rest of the country as the economy slows down.
    Of course it is easy to say but hard to do, the general lesson in this mess is to save more. The specific lesson is to get on the phone and tell our federal elected officials to quit playing games with our nieghbors and open the government back up.

  54. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Jan 24, 19 @ 9:32 am:

    In the 1996 furlough I applied for unemployment without problems. I was standing in line at the office in Aurora with what seemed the entire staff of Chicago’s IRS Office including it’s Director. OPM has information out there on applying during this furlough. If these folks can’t it’s an Illinois thing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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