First Command Bank remains committed to providing solutions to help meet your everyday financial challenges. During the 35-day government shutdown that ended in January 2019, we offered several different options to help our Coast Guard and federal banking clients deal with potential financial hardships. We are committed to continuing to help families who worked without pay during that shutdown as well as those who may be impacted in the event of a future shutdown.  Our assistance includes a partnership with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance to offer interest-free loans to Coast Guard members and their families. (Details of the program are available on the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance website at www.cgmahq.org.) For more information on how First Command Bank provided assistance during the recent shutdown – and how it may continue to help now and in future shutdowns – please refer to the following FAQ.

Government Shutdown FAQs

When federal agencies and programs lack appropriated funding, they experience a funding gap. Under the Antideficiency Act, they must cease operations, except in emergency situations, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. Failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on interim or full-year funding measures occasionally has caused government shutdowns, most recently in October 2013. That government shutdown necessitated furloughs of several hundred thousand federal employees. First Command Financial Services responded by offering several forms of assistance for affected clients. Through First Command Bank, our assistance included a zero-interest payroll advance to federal employee clients with existing direct deposit arrangements at the bank. In the event of another shutdown, First Command is committed to offering similar types of assistance to military and federal clients facing potential financial hardships. In 2013, First Command Bank received many questions from clients who were concerned about what the government shutdown would mean for them. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions with updated information to reflect the current situation. We’ll be revising this document as details of a potential shutdown emerge.

Will government benefits be paid for retired military, Social Security, VA and other programs?

Based on the events of 2013 and the best information we have at this time, we do not believe these programs would be impacted by a shutdown. But there are many uncertainties. For the most accurate, up-to-date information on the status of particular programs, we advise our clients to consult official government sources such as:

Who is eligible for pay coverage from First Command Bank?

In 2013, our pay coverage program was designed to help those federal employees who had their federal pay on direct deposit with First Command Bank. Any new pay coverage program will also be designed for affected clients – both federal employees and military personnel – who have their federal pay on direct deposit with the bank.

When will First Command Bank begin paying coverage?

First Command Bank is prepared to cover the payroll of impacted clients on a timely basis, and the actual dates will be determined as details of a shutdown emerge. In 2013, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” suggested that employees would receive the Oct. 15 paycheck as it would cover hours worked prior to the shutdown.

Here is an excerpt: 

  • Will employees receive a paycheck for hours worked prior to a lapse in appropriations?
    Under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance issued in 1980 (below), employees will receive this paycheck. Although the payroll for the last pay period before the lapse will be processed potentially during a period of furlough, the minimum number of payroll staff necessary for this process will be excepted from furlough for the minimum time required to issue the checks, including checks for the last pay period before the lapse. This guidance can be found in OMB’s August 28, 1980, Bulletin No. 80-14, Shutdown of Agency Operations Upon Failure by the Congress to Enact Appropriations, paragraph 3.b.(1) (Appropriations and funds). OMB has reviewed and concurs in this answer.

Do federal employees and military personnel who believe their pay will be delayed need to call the bank or will their pay be covered automatically?

In the event of a government shutdown that delays federal paychecks, First Command Bank will identify account holders who have their federal paychecks on direct deposit with us. We will notify these clients via email that a payroll advance is available and ask them if they wish to take advantage of this offer. Payroll advances will only be made to clients who send us an affirmative response.

Will First Command Bank be lending me the money?

The proposed program is a payroll advance as opposed to a traditional loan. In the event of a government shutdown and you meet the criteria, First Command Bank will cover the amount of normal net pay for eligible clients. Once the normal direct deposit begins again, the amount that First Command Bank provides to you will be deducted from your account. There will be no fees or interest charged on the advance.

Are you offering any other forms of assistance during the shutdown?

We anticipate offering various other programs to help clients who may be affected by a government shutdown. First Command Bank expects to make the following provisions to assist clients:

  • Loan Assistance — We will work with clients on any First Command Bank loan payments.
  • Penalty-free early C.D. withdrawals — Any early withdrawal penalties will be waived for clients who need to redeem a First Command Bank Certificate of Deposit prior to its maturity.
  • Secured Lines of Credit — We are ready to help clients use their non-tax qualified mutual fund as collateral for a low interest rate line of credit.
  • Credit card accounts — First Command Bank Visa cardholders will be offered priority processing for increases to credit limits and deferments of monthly payments. We will also waive cash advance fees during a shutdown.

Meanwhile, First Command Financial Advisors will be available to offer guidance on dealing with federal allotments for investment and insurance as well as other issues affecting family finances.

If you have questions about any of your First Command Bank accounts, please contact us via Secure Message in OnCommand or at 888.763.7600 so we can work together to explore your options and find solutions that will help you meet any potential financial challenges due to the government shutdown.

Thanks for choosing First Command Bank. We’re committed to helping you get your financial life Squared Away®.