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Amarillo banks setting up assistance for government employees affected by shutdown

Happy State Bank and Amarillo National Bank are both doing their part to try and help government employees missing out on their paychecks due to the partial government shutdown. (MGN Online)

As gridlock in Washington continues, thousands of furloughed federal employees are beginning to feel a direct impact from the shutdown.

Happy State Bank and Amarillo National Bank are both doing their part to try and help government employees missing out on their paychecks.

Happy State Bank Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Hickman announced a program to assist government employees affected by the shutdown at a press conference on Wednesday.

"You're going to write a hot check, we're not going to charge you a fee if that happens," said Hickman. "You may be late on a loan payment, we're not going to charge you a late fee if that happens, but we need to know that you're being impacted in that way."

The bank is offering four options to eligible employees who apply by the March 31 deadline. Hickman spoke on four areas the program is offering assistance with: deferring loan payments, waiving overdraft protection fees, short-term financing options and waiving late fees on loans.

"You may need to defer some payments we're willing to talk about with you. Obviously there's different scenarios for different people, but if it's hitting you or impacting you, we're there," said Hickman.

All eligible furloughed or government employees who are considered essential but not being paid, are invited to apply in person at a branch, by phone, or at this special website.

"Look, it's not about politics or party affiliation. It's about our neighbors and friends and loved ones who are in a tight spot right now," said Hickman. "We are more than happy to help."

Amarillo National Bank also released a statement Friday announcing they will also be deferring loan payments for customers not receiving their regular paychecks. The bank is offering the following means of assistance to its customers affected by the government shutdown:

  • Mortgages: ANB will offer forbearances on mortgage payments for up to six months or until the government shutdown ends—whichever comes first. Any credit reporting will be suspended and all late fees will be waived during this time. Mortgage consumers with questions or phone calls may contact Mortgage Loan Servicing collectors at (806) 378-8090.
  • Consumer Loans: All installment loans to customers affected by the shutdown will defer the next scheduled payment to the end of the note. If the shutdown continues, ANB will likely approve additional deferments. For help with your installment loan please contact (806) 378-8220.
  • In addition to covering these affected customers’ loans, Amarillo National Bank is making other accommodations. These efforts include waiving overdraft charges as well as fees for money orders or cashiers checks.

“This is how a community bank takes care of its community,” said ANB President William Ware. “Today is the day government workers should be getting their paychecks and unfortunately, it’s not happening. We understand the hardship this creates and we are committed to taking care of our customers.”

Ware added that the bank intends to help its customers as long as the shutdown lasts.

“Of course, we still will need to be repaid in a reasonable time frame once the government re-opens. The government may not always be dependable, but we trust our customers,” said Ware.

Impacted federal employees will be subject to verification by the bank on a case-by-case basis.

"Whether we wave overdraft fees, wave fees on money orders or cashiers checks, those are the kinds of things that are going to help in the long run. Come to us, let us know if you're affected and we'll take care of you," said Ware.

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