Stockman Bank offers to defer loans to Montana federal workers during shutdown

Bob Burns, Missoula market president of Stockman Bank, said the bank will defer consumer debt held by the bank during the partial government shutdown. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current file photo)

With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, efforts to assist federal workers are surfacing as financial uncertainly lingers over lost work and missed paychecks.

In Montana, Stockman Bank on Wednesday unveiled a plan to assist federal employees impacted by the government shutdown. The assistance includes furloughed employees who are not working, along with essential employees who are working without pay.

Stockman will defer consumer debt held by the bank during the shutdown, according Bob Burns, the bank’s Missoula market president.

“These government shutdowns are very stressful for workers and their families,” Burns told the Missoula Current. “We take it very seriously, and we want to work with our customers.”

Until the shutdown ends, Stockman will defer any loan payments due by Montana federal employees. Once the shutdown ends, Burns said, the bank will restructure debt for borrowers as necessary.

“Hopefully that will reduce some stress these Montana families are having, and some uncertainties about the current debt they owe,” Burns said. “We’ll defer any loan payments through Stockman until the shutdown ends for Montana federal workers.”

Burns said the bank will also work with commercial customers directly impacted by the shutdown on a case-by-case basis.

“We wanted to be proactive about it,” he said “That was important to us as a Montana bank. We have a lot of federal employees across the state that are going to need our help.”

It wasn’t immediately known how many federal workers reside in Montana. Nationally, however, the federal shutdown has left roughly 800,000 federal workers in financial limbo.

Calculations by New York University suggest that 420,000 of those workers are considered essential employees and are working without pay. Around 380,000 have been temporarily furloughed.

“Government shutdowns are very stressful for workers who still have bills to pay,” said Bill Bickle, chief credit officer for Stockman Bank. “We are happy to make accommodations for impacted federal employees to help reduce stress and protect their credit.”