U.S. Bank has launched a program that aims to help customers affected by the Minnesota government shutdown.
The Minneapolis-based bank announced Monday that it will allow such customers-provided that they are in good standing with their accounts-to skip one monthly payment on most types of loans without incurring any fees, penalties, or impact to their credit ratings. (Interest on the loans, however, will continue to accrue.)
"Nothing like this has really occurred," U.S. Bank spokesman Tom Joyce said about the shutdown, which is now in its 12th day. "This is our home state and our corporate headquarters state. [The program] felt like something we needed to do in our hometown."
State employees who have been laid-off or furloughed are eligible for U.S. Bank's program-as is "anyone who has been economically impacted by the state shutdown," Joyce told Twin Cities Business. He said that customers can explain their specific situations to a banker, and bankers are going to be "very flexible" in determining who is eligible for the program.
For example, maybe there's a small business owner near the capital who has experienced decreased sales as fewer state employees have frequented the area this month, Joyce said. Such an individual would be a prime candidate for the program.
TCF Bank spokesman Jason Korstange, reached by phone on Tuesday, said that the Wayzata-based bank is offering a similar option. TCF customers affected by the shutdown who haven't had any prior payments deferred are eligible to defer up to two payments with no fees, penalties, or impact to their credit ratings. Those interested should call their local branch to find out what options are available.
"We're obviously committed to working with our borrowers when these hardships and uncertainties come along," Korstange told Twin Cities Business. "Who knows when the State of Minnesota is coming back."
At U.S. Bank, customers can choose when they skip their payment, and they are permitted to skip one payment per loan for up to three loans, Joyce said.
Eligible loans include those for automobiles, recreational vehicles, marine vehicles, manufactured houses, and home-equity installments-as well as small business lines of credit and consumer credit cards.
Customers wanting to enroll in U.S. Bank's "skip-a-payment" program must call 1-800-US-BANKS.
Although the loan program was created for those affected by Minnesota's government shutdown, affected individuals and businesses from surrounding states-like North Dakota and Wisconsin-can also participate, Joyce said.
"As the largest bank in Minnesota, we've obviously been watching with keen interest the shutdown and the impact it's having on average Minnesotans and our customers," Joyce said. "When it extended beyond a few days, we knew we needed to do something to reach out to our customers."
U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank, is Minnesota's largest bank-holding company with $311 billion in assets as of March 31. U.S. Bank-which operates 3,082 banking offices in 25 states-is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the country.