Alpine Bank rolls out interest-free loans during government shutdown
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Alpine Bank, which is based in Glenwood Springs, is ready to give federal employees in Colorado the paycheck they missed.
Starting Wednesday, Alpine Bank will offer interest-free loans to furloughed federal employees in Colorado who missed out on a paycheck due to the partial government shutdown. Alpine has set aside $5 million for the current loan program.
Alpine, which has 40 locations across Colorado, has offered similar short-term loans during previous government shutdowns in 1996 and 2013. But because of Alpine’s recent expansion and the historic length of the current budget impasse in Congress, this time the program could have a much larger impact.
“When our neighbors need our assistance, we will be there to help,” Alpine Bank founder Bob Young said in a statement issued Tuesday. “This is the third time in the past 25 years that we have implemented this type of support to our valued federal employees. As always, we are honored to help.”
“We’ve helped hundreds of people during a couple shutdowns previously, so we knew there were folks who needed it,” Glen Jammaron, vice chairman and president of Alpine Bank, said during a Tuesday news conference in Glenwood Springs.
News of Alpine Bank’s renewed efforts was first reported late last week. Press conferences also were called Tuesday to formally announce the program at branch locations in Grand Junction and Denver.
Alpine believes that around 50,000 federal employees in their service areas have been affected by the furlough. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, there were 54,000 federal employees in Colorado in 2017.
Alpine is offering the loans to people in the communities they serve, and hopes other financial institutions will do the same.
“It is Alpine Bank’s hope that other banks across Colorado and throughout our nation will also step forward to help federal workers in their own communities,” Jammaron said. “There are other efforts around the country, but this is the only one I’m aware of in our area.”
To receive the instant, interest-free loan, employees are asked to bring both their Colorado and federal IDs to an Alpine Bank branch, along with a federal payroll statement.
“We know some federal employees are having trouble getting to their (payroll) statements because of some access issues, so bring a bank statement, (or) anything that demonstrates what your pay is,” Jammaron said.
Those who don’t have an Alpine account will have to open a checking account with the bank to receive the equivalent of one-month’s net salary. Repayment of the loan is due six months after the shutdown ends.
As of Monday evening, Alpine had opened 132 accounts for federal workers ready to receive a loan. Those loans will add up to roughly $500,000, Jammaron said.
“In our previous programs, we’ve had very little losses even though there’s no collateral,” Young said. “I’m amazed at how good the credits have been. That tells us that we can do it again.”
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Basalt depends on sales taxes for about 60 percent of its overall revenues. That will obviously take a hit from the economic impact of the coronavirus. On the one hand, grocery sales will stay strong. On the other hand, most other categories are plummeting.