First Command Bank is committed to providing solutions to help meet your everyday financial challenges. During the government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018-2019, we offered zero-interest payroll advances and other forms of assistance to help our eligible banking clients deal with financial hardships. In January 2019 we partnered with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance to offer interest-free loans to Coast Guard members and their families. For more information on how First Command Bank provided assistance during past shutdowns – and how we anticipate helping our clients and the military community in the event of 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 December 2018. 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. During the shutdown in late 2018 and early 2019, 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 information to reflect the details of that situation.
Will government benefits be paid for retired military, Social Security, VA and other programs?
Based on the government shutdowns of 2013 and 2018-2019 and the best information we have at this time, we do not believe these programs would be impacted by a future 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 and 2018-2019, our pay coverage program was designed to help those military and 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 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 paychecks 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 accepted 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, similar to a loan. See next question below on repayment terms. In the event of a government shutdown for which 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.
What are the repayment terms of the payroll advance?
When the government shutdown ends, all payroll advances made to you will become immediately due and payable. Should your federal government employment terminate or if you change your direct deposit instructions, such payroll advances will become immediately due. You authorize First Command Bank to automatically debit an amount equal to all such payroll advances from the first direct deposit you receive into your First Command Bank account from your federal government employer after the government shutdown ends. If the first direct deposit is not sufficient to cover such payroll advances, you authorize First Command Bank to continue deducting the maximum amount possible from subsequent direct deposits of your salary/pay until all payroll advances are repaid in full. You acknowledge that all payroll advances are loans and that you will remain liable for these loans until they have been repaid in full. First Command Bank may report information about such loans to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults may also be reflected in your credit report. In case of default, your entire indebtedness shall become due and payable immediately and First Command Bank may pursue legal remedies as needed to collect any and all amounts due.
Will you be offering any other forms of assistance in the event of a future 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.