Oklahoma Bank Offers To Pay Bills For Customers Affected By Government Shutdown
TULSA, Oklahoma - For the first time since the partial Government shutdown started 21 days ago, thousands of federal workers didn’t get paid Friday.
Without money coming in, the federal workers who aren't getting paid could easily overdraw their accounts. But at First Oklahoma Bank, they're telling customers, "Don't worry. We've got you covered."
Customers of First Oklahoma Bank got a letter from bank leaders just before Christmas anticipating a government shutdown. The letter tells customers the bank will help them pay their regular bills if their account overdraws.
"When we got to December of this year and it looked like the government might shut down we went wait this is Christmas. This isn't the time for people to be fearful about what am I going to do if I don’t get a check," said First Oklahoma Bank Co-CEO Tom Bennett.
Bennett was right, the government shutdown did happen and now thousands of federal workers expecting checks didn't get them.
"We tried to imagine ourselves in the circumstance of a government employee who wouldn't get a paycheck and go how would we like the bank to treat us?" said Bennett.
Bennett said employees aren't to blame for not getting paid so that's why he made the new policy. He said the bank will treat accounts as if the check arrived like normal.
"Well, you still have a house payment to make, a car payment to make and need to buy groceries so go ahead and write those checks. As long as you are just writing them up to the amount you would have gotten, we'll pay them," said Bennett.
Bennett says, just because the government has shut down doesn't mean everyone else has to. He hopes others spread the same message.
"We hope that other businesses in the community will also look at their customers and go what can we do to help? How can we be a community that takes care of each other," said Bennett.
Bennett said they will keep providing this assistance as long as they need to.