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As WA Shutdown Looms, Credit Unions Toss Lifeline to State Workers

Clouds are gathering over the Washington State Capitol as the clock winds down for lawmakers to come to a budget agreement. (Manuel Iglesias/Flickr)
Clouds are gathering over the Washington State Capitol as the clock winds down for lawmakers to come to a budget agreement. (Manuel Iglesias/Flickr)
June 23, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A possible state government shutdown is looming in Washington, and that's especially bad news for state employees.

Lawmakers entered their third special session this week to negotiate a budget, but if no deal is reached by July 1, thousands of state workers will be temporarily out of work. So, credit unions across the state are putting services in place to help their members.

One example is the Washington State Employees Credit Union, where Ann Flannigan, the WSECU vice president of public relations, says they're offering advice for worried members.

"Our messaging right now is, 'Hey, come talk to us,'" she says. "Even if we don't know what's going to happen yet, come talk to us and we can start those conversations about what options might be available to you as a member, and how we can help you stretch during a time where you may not have a paycheck coming in."

She says members also can get loan modifications, work stoppage loans, and short-term emergency loans of up to $700 to help out if the shutdown does take place.

Flannigan points out that the credit union faced similar situations during potential shutdowns in 2013 and 2015, and a detailed plan for how to respond is already in place. She adds that this is much of what credit unions do on a daily basis.

"It's just doing more of what we do every day, on a bigger scale," she adds. "So, the fact is that credit unions really try to stretch and help members, and I think we get a chance to shine when times are particularly difficult."

Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will veto any partial budget plan that doesn't satisfy the state Supreme Court mandate on education funding.

More than 30,000 state employees will be watching talks closely over the next week.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA