AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - As the government shutdown prepares to enter its fourth week and many federal employees continue to go without pay, a couple of local banks are helping those affected.
"It’s a normal payday and folks aren’t getting paid,” said J. Pat Hickman, Chairman & CEO of Happy State Bank.
It’s a reality for many federal workers as the government shutdown continues and many got their first pay stub of the shutdown, reading $0.
With a number of federal agencies located right here in the panhandle, local institutions like Amarillo-based Happy State Bank are giving back to their customers in need.
"I'm a banker. We help people buy homes, we help people start businesses, get cars, go on vacation, that's what we do,” said Hickman. “But those are not necessarily life or death. This is feeding your family, taking care of your family, you've got obligations you can't meet now that you told somebody you were going to. That's a whole new world and this time, it's not your fault."
The bank announced Friday it's implementing a program to help government employees affected by the shutdown, offering deferred loan payments, waiving overdraft protection and late fees and offering up short-term financing options.
Just blocks away, Amarillo National Bank announced a similar new program for customers.
"We understand that things like the government shutdown are out of our customers' control so we want to help them in every way we can,” said William Ware, President of Amarillo National Bank. “This is what community banks can do and we can move a lot quicker so we're honored to help them."
Like Happy State, Amarillo National will offer deferred payments on mortgages and loans and will waive fees.
With no end to the shutdown in sight, leaders of both banks say they are prepared to help as long as it takes.
"Both sides seem to be digging in their heels this time a little bit more,” said Hickman. “We don't know how long this is going to last but we're going to be here. We're here to help. We're here to do all that we can."
"We don't know how long this is going to last and we don't know how much pay it's going to affect so we're doing what we can and working with them on their loan payments, on their mortgages, and on their deposit accounts,” said Ware. “This could go as long as three to six months and we're going to stick with them as long as it takes."
It’s a bit of relief for those federal workers feeling the pain of no paycheck.