FORT WORTH, Texas — First Command Financial Services, Inc. announced today that it is partnering with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) to offer interest-free loans to Coast Guard members and their families who are recovering from financial challenges due to the government shutdown.
“First Command has been greatly sensitive to the needs of our Nation’s Coast Guardsmen during the partial government shutdown, and we have been doing all we can to help alleviate that burden,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command. “Today the President announced a deal to end the shutdown. While we are excited and optimistic about this new development, we anticipate the financial ramifications will continue for many families. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that we are significantly expanding our ongoing shutdown assistance program with a $5 million unsecured, interest-free line of credit to CGMA for the purpose of making interest-free loans to Coast Guardsmen who have been negatively affected by the shutdown and may again find themselves working without pay if temporary government funding ends on Feb. 15.”
All ranks of active-duty Coast Guard personnel are eligible for the program. CGMA will make loans directly to service members. The line of credit has a maturity of one year and is renewable if needed. Details of the program are available on the CGMA website at www.cgmahq.org.
“I am so grateful to see First Command go above and beyond to help our Coast Guard members and families,” said Charles “Skip” W. Bowen III, a member of the First Command Military Advisory Board who served as the 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. “The devotion and support they show our military members is without parallel.”
This new offer represents a major expansion of First Command’s government shutdown program. Since the start of the shutdown on Dec. 22, the company has been offering zero-interest payroll advances and other financial assistance to all clients who are either an active duty member of the Coast Guard or a federal employee who is impacted by the shutdown. The offer extends to about 2,800 affected clients with existing direct deposit arrangements for their government paychecks. The total value of the offer to clients is $6.1 million for the Jan. 11-31 period.
“This program also benefits many military veterans, who make up nearly a third of the federal workforce,” Spiker said.
The zero-interest payroll advances are part of a comprehensive plan that First Command has pursued to address financial hardships arising from the government shutdown. The plan includes offers of:
* Loan Assistance. Understanding that a government shutdown may strain family budgets, First Command Bank is prepared to work with clients on any First Command Bank loan payments.
* Penalty-free early C.D. withdrawals. First Command Bank will waive any early withdrawal penalties for clients who need to redeem a First Command Bank Certificate of Deposit prior to its maturity.
* Secured Lines of Credit. First Command Bank is ready to help clients use their non-tax qualified mutual fund as collateral for a low interest rate line of credit.
* Special handling of credit card accounts. First Command Bank’s Visa cardholders will be offered priority processing for increases to credit limits and deferments of monthly payments. The bank will also waive cash advance fees during the shutdown.
Meanwhile, First Command’s shutdown assistance efforts are also visible at many of the company’s 179 local offices. First Command Financial Advisors have been hosting food and support drives in their local communities as well as offering guidance to clients on shutdown-related financial issues.
“For the first time in history, thousands of our Nation’s military members were not paid due to a lapse in government funding – and First Command has been committed to offering meaningful assistance during this time of financial need,” Spiker said. “We have helped thousands of military and federal employees and their families plan for their financial futures, supporting them through times both good and bad. We are committed to make good on our Mission of coaching those who serve in their pursuit of financial security.”