Cleaver calls on banks to offer loans, extend credit and offer generous repayment plans

January 18, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II today called for banking institutions to work with federal employees affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown. In a letter to the four major banking associations, the congressman urged banks to contact customers and offer short-term loans and concessionary agreements to alleviate financial pressure and assist individuals weathering the current government shutdown. Congressman Cleaver is a high-ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee that handles legislation regarding the banking industry.

The letter can be found here.

“There are currently 800,000 Americans that, due to no fault of their own, are either furloughed or working without pay,” said Congressman Cleaver.

“Many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck and are facing extraordinary financial hardship as they struggle to make payments on mortgages, student loans, car loans, medical care, and other various financial obligations. I’d like to see these banks reciprocate the same loyalty these customers have shown them by reaching out directly to federal workers and collaborating with them during these trying times.”

Specifically, Congressman Cleaver asked banks to contact customers affected by the shutdown and offer concessionary agreements for short-term modifications to mortgages, student loans, and retail credit. Furthermore, the congressman called for the institutions to ensure that federal workers have access to no-interest short term credit lines with generous repayment terms, a practice that would be consistent with the guidance offered by federal financial regulators in a notice issued on January 11, 2019 and has already been implemented by a select number of financial institutions.

“By giving no-interest loans to federal workers, these customers will be able to pay their bills and keep food on the table while the President and Congressional Republicans come to their senses,” stated Congressman Cleaver.

“These dedicated employees should not be penalized for the President’s refusal to sign the appropriations deal that Congress had agreed upon in December.”

The current government shutdown—the longest shutdown in American history—began on December 22, 2018, while Republicans still maintained control of the House, Senate, and White House. Under Democratic control of the House Chamber, Congressman Cleaver has voted nine times in support of legislation that would reopen the government. He has continually expressed concerns about the detrimental effects the shutdown has had on federal workers and the American economy.

“Workers are being evicted from their homes, losing SNAP benefits, and rationing their medical care. I recently spoke to a woman who was unable to pay for her child’s medicine due to the shutdown. No federal worker—an individual who has chosen to servetheir country—should have to choose between putting food on the table, a roof over their head, or medicine to keep their child healthy,” said Congressman Cleaver. “While Congress continues efforts to convince the White House to reopen the government and mitigate the harm done by this shutdown, I want to implore banks to work with these people and make arrangements on a short-term basis.”

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.