MADISON, Wis. (3/4/13)--In a stellar example of credit unions putting members' interests above the bottom line, credit unions across the U.S. are rallying to assist members with furloughs that began at midnight Friday after the federal government's stalemate on wide-ranging budget cuts, called sequestration.
Among those who will be hit the hardest are civilians working for the government and military families. The Defense Credit Union Council says its member credit unions stand ready to help.
"All of our members have stepped up to the plate, as they've always done and always will," said Roland "Arty" Arteaga, president/CEO of the Defense Credit Union Council. "All of them are on edge" about what sequestration preposits, but many have already let members know they can get help through the furloughs from their credit union.
"Others are looking very closely so they can take measures [to assist] and so they can tell members, 'Be assured, we've got your back,'" he told News Now.
Sequestration doesn't affect just credit unions with a presence on a military base. "Credit unions in general need to be sensitive to Army Reservists and National Guard citizens who aren't on a base but who still receive a furlough notice," said Arteaga. "We all need to be committed to our pledge of people helping people."
The furlough timing varies, beginning in April. Once the furlough begins, "civilian employees will lose one to two days out of each pay period while the furlough is in existence. To lose that much pay is huge, given the economic environment," Arteaga said.
Here are just a few examples of how credit unions will help their members:
Credit unions' philosophy on the furlough issue was summed up RBFCU's Sekkula: "Our goal is to serve our members, whatever the situation. While we hope these financial impacts can be averted, we will be ready to assist our hard-working members with resources so they can continue to meet their obligations and take care of their families."
The sequestration budget cuts refer to a package of automatic federal spending cuts totaling $1.2 trillion, which took effect Friday. News Now will report on other kinds of credit unions assisting with furloughs soon. See related story, "How Is Your CU Aiding Members In Sequestration? Tell UniteForGood."