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Community First Credit Union Expands Federal Worker Relief Program

By: Maria Coppola, APR, CPRC

Posted on 1/18/2019 4:00:00 PM

Longest government shutdown in history prompts second wave of assistance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 18, 2019Community First Credit Union, headquartered in Jacksonville, announces it has expanded its special program designed to help affected federal workers during the government shutdown. On January 10, the credit union announced a program in advance of workers’ first missed payday on January 11. The shutdown’s protracted duration has impacted federal workers beyond just their first payday.

“We’ve rolled out additional assistance to members who haven’t been able to make a January payment on their Community First loans as they work to take care of their families,” said Susan Verbeck, Chief Lending Officer at Community First Credit Union. “The Relief Loans rolled out last week were intended to help with cash needs – not make January payments on their loans with us. The expanded program offers loan payment relief. 

The relief program is available to any federal worker member of the credit union who requests assistance. Members can request assistance by visiting a branch or calling customer service at (904) 354-8537.

The expanded benefits include:

  • Auto Loan “Skip Payment” – for loans that originated at Community First by the member, Community First will grant a fee-free skip payment extension by request for the payment in January.
  • Auto Loan Modification – auto loans that originated at auto dealerships require special modifications because of retail contracts. Impacted federal worker members can have their auto loan modified to avoid a January payment and amortize that payment over the remainder of the loan. 
  • Lines of credit “Skip Payment” - members with lines of credit or credit cards will receive a one (1) month payment skip by moving the next due date one month ahead. Available credit limit will remain.
  • Modifications for equity loans and equity lines of credit – members will receive a one (1) month modification, creating a balloon at the end of the contract. 
  • First Mortgage Assistance – Members with first mortgages will be referred to Mortgage Servicing to discuss forbearance options being offered as defined by Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA).

Existing benefits announced January 10:

  • A no-interest payroll loan – this loan is granted interest-free to replace the first missed paycheck for federal workers.
    • Members who are federal employees affected by the shutdown and receiving direct deposit at Community First will be offered an interest-free loan for a term of 45 days. Upon receipt of the first direct deposit after the shutdown, the loan will be repaid in full.
    • Members who are federal employees affected by the shutdown but not receiving direct deposit at Community First will be offered a short-term loan based on their most recent paystub gross pay. An advance equal to 75 percent of gross pay will be provided with repayment terms between 3 and 18 months.
  • Instant line of credit increases – for members with existing lines of credit.
  • Instant credit card increases – for members with existing credit card limits.
  • New unsecured credit requests – for members with direct deposit, for amortizing personal loans, line of credit or credit cards. Approvals based on previous credit history and history at the credit union.
  • Penalty-free early withdrawal on certificates of deposits – no penalties on partial or full withdrawal by affected federal employees.

“Our federal worker members and their families are feeling a great amount of financial burden and stress,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First Credit Union. “After analyzing the calls for assistance, we expanded the program to provide further relief as the government shutdown continues.”

Community First Credit Union of Florida is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving more than 133,000 members and with assets of $1.6 billion. Community First has 19 locations and 300 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses throughout the First Coast. For more information visit