January 18, 2019

Fidelity, Berkshire offer loan programs for furloughed federal workers

Photo | Grant Welker
Fidelity Bank's Front Street location in Worcester.

Two local financial institutions are lending a helping hand to furloughed federal workers who find themselves without work or working for free with Congress unable to pass legislation to fund all of the government.

Leominster-based Fidelity Bank and Pittsfield-based Berkshire Bank -- which acquired Worcester-based Commerce Bank last year -- are offering their help until the government is opened.

Fidelity is supporting clients affected by the shutdown by providing fee and loan assistance to workers who can prove they are furloughed federal workers or negatively impacted by the shutdown.

"Fidelity Bank is proud to support our clients who are facing financial challenges due to the government shutdown," says Fidelity Bank Chairman and CEO Edward F. Manzi Jr. "It is consistent with our LifeDesign promise of being a team of caring people, who take a caring approach, to provide caring solutions."

At Berkshire, the bank is offering a loan modification program and financial coaching service to help its federal worker customers.

Via the program, which began Wednesday, qualified federal employees who have a loan from Berkshire can apply for loan payment deferrals of up to three months.

Workers must provide their most recent payroll statement from the government.

In a statement, Tami Gunsch, senior executive vice president and director of relationship banking of Berkshire Bank, said the program can help reduce the financial stress of impacted federal workers.

"Our customers and communities are our highest priority and we will be with them for the duration of the government shutdown," she said.

In addition to the loan program, customers will have access to financial coaching through the bank's partnership with national non-profit GreenPath Financial Wellness.

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