Bank helps furloughed federal workers with loans against future pay

Dozens of furloughed federal workers have taken advantage of an Alpine Bank offer to give them zero-interest loans to cover missing paychecks.

The bank, based in Glenwood Springs, has revived a program it also offered during the federal shutdown of 1995. The program benefits loan recipients, the community and ultimately Alpine Bank as a community bank, said bank President Glen Jammaron.

“It was a win-win-win and we see no reason not to do it again,” he said.

The bank has set aside $13 million to loan to federal workers to cover their next paycheck. The workers don’t need to be existing customers, and are asked to bring their latest pay stubs to the bank to take advantage of the offer.

Jammaron said that by Thursday night, 69 people had taken advantage of the program.

Jammaron said publicity about the program is a side benefit. But he said that as in the case of donations Alpine Bank makes to communities, it’s offering the loan program “because it’s the right thing to do.”

He said he’s heard of some lending institutions letting furloughed federal workers participate in skip-a-payment programs during the shutdown, and Alpine Bank is offering that program for its credit cards.

Jammaron said that besides the cost of not making interest on the paycheck loans, there’s also the potential downside of not getting the loan repaid.

“But that’s the nature of making loans anyway,” he said.

He said he thinks a few federal workers may not have repaid their loans in 1995 but most did.

“I suppose you may run into somebody who wants to take advantage of a situation, but I’m a firm believer that most people will do their best to live up to their obligations,” he said.

Alpine Bank is employee-owned, with more than 500 employees, 130,000 customers and 36 locations in western and southwestern Colorado.

He said he doesn’t know that the shutdown has had a significant economic impact on the bank, but it’s affecting customers who do business with federal workers or have federal contracts.

“It’s really hurting them,” which ultimately hurts communities and Alpine Bank, he said.

“It’s just too bad it ended up where it is,” he said of the federal budget deadlock. “… I like having success with the (loan) program but I’d like it better for this to be settled.”


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Although not reported in the Sentinel, “Tea Partiers” demonstrated near the White House on Sunday – some carrying Confederate flags and demanding that President Obama renounce the Koran!

Meanwhile, as Dennis Webb reported (“Furloughed workers helped by loans against future pay”), Alpine Bank is admirably assisting federal employees victimized by the mindless government “shutdown”– because Congress passed a law guaranteeing that furloughed federal employees would be retroactively paid for not working.

Far more significant, however, is the Sentinel’s AP article:  “What happens if U.S. breaks borrowing limit” – which timely reports that, among the impacts of default will likely be the non-payment of Social Security and veterans’ benefits.  Because the “Tea Party” is substantially populated by both older Americans and veterans, they are “protesting” for a self-inflicted wound that will likely prove especially septic in the Grand Valley.

As The Denver Post reported two years ago—“Grand Junction suffered biggest decline of personal income in U.S. in 2010” (August 10, 2011) – a significant portion of our local economy depends on “transfer payments” (e.g., Social Security, veterans’, and federally subsidized unemployment benefits).

Statewide, transfer payments contributed between 28 percent of income gains in Boulder and 70 percent in Pueblo.  “Pueblo, Greeley and Grand Junction were the three metro areas in the state most dependent on government support to boost incomes.”

Thus, local businesses and realtors should be bracing for another 1980s “Bust” if the dysfunctional Congress fails to avert default by raising the debt limit, and the 3rd C.D. electorate (and the Sentinel’s editors) should be asking themselves why they supported an irresponsible “Tea Party” Congressman—Scott Tipton—who continues to espouse policies that will likely devastate the local economy and impoverish many of the gullible lemmings who trustingly voted for him.

The Sentinel should call for Tipton to resign.

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