Get Out of Debt Guy

Dealing With Bills During a Government Shutdown

Posted October 10, 2013

Continued government shutdowns are impacting many people. Between losing some benefits and government workers not getting paychecks, personal budgets are quickly reaching the breaking point.

If you are one of the unlucky people impacted by these events beyond your control it is time to take proactive action before creditors start bugging you.

Yesterday the The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and National Credit Union Administration issued a statement asking banks, lenders and creditors to take it easy with consumers hurting from the current shutdown.

They say, “Prudent workout arrangements that are consistent with safe-and-sound lending practices are generally in the long-term best interest of the financial institution, the borrower, and the economy.”

The government agencies sent a clear sign to the creditors they will not punish them for making allowances. They said, "Efforts to modify terms on existing loans should not be subject to examiner criticism."

It is a smart idea to reach out to your creditors as soon as possible and to document this outreach. Keep a record of when and who you speak to at your creditors and explain specifically how the government shutdown has impacted you. 

"During any time like this when the loss of income is completely out of the control of the consumer, creditors are willing to extend concessions as long as the consumer is actively engaged with their creditors," said Christopher Viale, the President and CEO of Cambridge Credit Counseling.

As you can see, the people and agencies in the know are urging consumers to proactively reach out to their creditors. It is quite possible you may run into a creditor that is not understanding during this personal finance crisis but If you fail to get the cooperation of your lenders, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to look into the specific situation.

Keep in mind though, any action taken by your creditors now is going to be a temporary fix and when the government shutdown issue is resolved and pay resumes, they will look for people to get caught up. They always do.

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.