Some banks step up to offer relief to federal workers going without pay

AUBURN, Wash. — With no end in sight to the government shutdown, more businesses and banks are stepping up to offer some relief to federal workers going without pay.

“Sometimes I feel like I'm dreaming that this is actually happening,” Katy Hensevelt said.

Hensevelt, of Bonney Lake, is a Coast Guard spouse. She still can't believe she's caught up in the country's record-long government shutdown.

KIRO 7 first spoke to her at the end of the year, right before a one-time deal was made to pay the Coast Guard its Dec. 31st check. She thought a deal would be reached by now, but instead the Coast Guard just missed its first paycheck.

While her husband is deployed, she's taking care of their children and trying to figure out how to make ends meet.

“I’ve been really frugal with his paycheck, trying to deem what's a necessity, what’s a luxury,” Hensevelt explained.

A top Coast Guard officer said the missed paycheck is the first time a military branch has gone without pay during a government shutdown. But the 42,000 active duty members are still doing essential work, like  search and rescue and securing the nation's ports and coastlines.

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“It's kind of embarrassing. It really is to have to call your creditor and say I need help. My husband's paycheck has been put on hold,” Hensevelt added.

A number of banks in Washington state -- including Seattle-based Washington Federal -- are stepping up with short-term relief.

“Things are going really well. Yet we look at friends and neighbors caught in this predicament, at no fault of their own, and we said what can we do to help them?” said Brent Beardall, the CEO of Washington Federal.

Beardall explained the bank is offering an interest-free loan for impacted federal workers for up to 90 days or up to six paychecks. You don't have to be a customer, although you would have to open a checking account to receive the loan.

“We didn't try to put a limit on the dollar amount. We said we need to replace paychecks,” Beardall added.

Since launching the program on Wednesday, the bank says it has received more than 700 visitors to its website asking about the program, and 40 loans are already in process.

Hensevelt is trying to stay positive and said all the resources coming together certainly helps.

“It's making me feel appreciated. It really does because at least somebody is out there taking notice,” said Hensevelt.