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Government Shutdown Puts Vermont Business Plans On Hold

Brattleboro Savings & Loan is offering interest-free loans to government workers who are not receiving paychecks during the government shutdown

The partial federal government shutdown is slowing business projects in Vermont.

Vermont Banking Association president Chris D’Elia says banks that need to work with federal agencies on some loans can’t get their paperwork processed. The federal Small Business Administration is closed as the partial government shutdown is now the longest in history.

“It is delaying projects from moving forward because there’s no one at these federal agencies that can work on those applications right now,” D’Elia said.

"It is delaying projects from moving forward because there's no one at these federal agencies that can work on those applications right now." — Chris D'Elia, president of Vermont Bankers Asociation

D’Elia sent out a survey this week to Vermont banks asking how the shutdown is hurting their business. He said banks are worried about how long the shutdown might last.

“It’s unfortunate that’s it’s going on as long as it is,” he said. “And there’s many impacts that might be felt long term. Hopefully this can get resolved sooner rather than later.”

He says at least half the banks in the state are offering special loans to government workers who aren’t receiving paychecks.

Brattleboro Savings & Loan president Dan Yates says this is the first time the bank has taken that step during a government shutdown. There’s an Internal Revenue Service office and a United States Department of Agriculture office in Brattleboro.

“Past government shutdowns have ended up being resolved very quickly before anybody has passed a paycheck period,” Yates said. “And we felt very strongly that we wanted to make help available to folks that work for the government that are in our market area.”

The bank is also asking  government workers with existing loans to reach out if they’re having trouble making their payments.

“I think it’s an absolute tragedy that the government is holding these people hostage and their paychecks hostage over ideology,” Yates said.

Disclosure: Brattleboro Savings & Loan is a VPR underwriter.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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