Long before the deadline passed at midnight Sept. 30 for a deal that would have averted the government shutdown, millions of federal workers knew they may not have jobs as of Tuesday morning, and many more knew it could likely be some time before they receive their next paycheck.
Federal employees were last paid on Monday Sept. 30 and will next be paid on Oct. 15, just days before the dreaded debt ceiling is reached. Since the latter won't occur for another couple of weeks, there's no need to panic just yet. Or is there?
While it’s true this shutdown may be resolved in just days, it could also last many weeks or months. If the latter is the case, there will undoubtedly be a significant number of federal employees who will miss payments on their mortgages and credit cards and be unable to fund their direct debit payments.
With no certainty of when they will next be paid, what are federal employees prioritizing in their lives? They could pay their mortgages as they normally do and live as if nothing had happened, but what if they don't get paid on on Oct. 15? Should they then skip their mortgage payments this month so they can feed their families and send their kids to school instead?
International Business Times contacted the top six mortgage lenders in America to discuss what plans they have in place to deal with the influx of missed payments if the issue is not resolved.
Most banks have do not a specific plan in place but have said that anyone experiencing difficulties with paying their mortgage or other financial responsibilities should contact the bank.
On the eve of the shutdown, a spokesperson from Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) said, “There are too many unknowns right now to know the full impact if an agreement is not made.”
Fannie and Freddie, despite being owned by the federal government, should be unaffected by the shutdown, it says, because customers can take advantage of their relief programs. A spokesperson for Fannie said all customers are responsible for the primary interest on their accounts, but that there would be no fee for late payments during the shutdown.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) both said every customer’s difficulties are unique, and they recommended that customers contact them to find answers.
It’s likely that all federal employees will be reimbursed adequately, even those who have been furloughed. However, due to the recent austerity measures the government has taken in recent times, such as those forced by the Sequester earlier this year, there are not guarantees that employees who have not been working will in some way be “made good” on any financial problems they have experience this year.
As things stand, 4.1 million federal employees will not be paid at all until a deal is reached, although 80 percent of them will still have to show up for work. And in two weeks, the situation will get even worse if the two ruling parties can't make a deal on raising the debt ceiling. If that happens, the country America will go into default on its debt send shockwaves around the globe.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) was the only bank that was able to offer any kind of hope to federal employees. It specifically said that if any of its customers experience a salary shortfall, assistance is available.