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Credit unions extend loans to military workers hit by sequester

As military installations brace for the furloughs necessitated by federal sequestration, at least one midstate financial institution is stepping in quietly with some assistance to affected employees.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union will offer low-interest loans to qualified borrowers who need help coping with furlough-related disruptions to their income, credit union President and CEO Bob Marquette said.

The credit union offered similar assistance when state employees were idled due to budget impasses, he said.

“We do this regularly,” he said.

The sequester, initially conceived as a way to pressure Congress and the White House to reach agreement on a long-term deficit-reduction deal, mandates about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts in fiscal 2013, according to press reports.

To comply with it, civilian Defense Department employees will have to take one day off a week without pay for up to 11 weeks, beginning in July. Notices are to be issued next week.

The 11 sequester days are down from the 22 originally envisioned. Still, they represent a 20 percent cut in pay for those 11 weeks.

“Well over 90 percent” of Defense Department civilian employees will be affected, according to Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper.

The Defense Department has roughly 750,000 civilian employees, according to Stars and Stripes. Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg, a base in Hampden Township, has more than 3,400 such workers, according to Business Journal records.

The “vast majority” of the 3,600 employees at the Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna in Fairview Township, York County, are civilians, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Roughly 700 employees at the U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks could be affected, spokesman Edward “Tom” Conning said.

Tim Stuhldreher

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