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Lenders urged to help consumers weather shutdown's effects

The thing about life's major upheavals is that they have ripple effects that tend to linger well after the storm has passed. You see it in the wake of any major natural disaster. The same can be said of those difficulties we create ourselves, like the recent government shutdown.

As many readers likely know, the federal government employs thousands of individuals in just the North Texas region alone. During the recent 16-day shutdown, most of them found themselves on unrequested and unpaid leave. You can be sure that many of them were not sitting on piles of savings going into this situation. 

The shutdown pushed a lot of them to a financial brink and many very possibly are now scrambling for debt relief. They are expected to be made whole with back pay in their next paychecks. But for most them, the government says, that next check won't come until the end of this month.

There are many resources available for getting the relief that's needed. Reaching out to a debt relief firm for a consultation is one to consider. But federal regulators recently went on record to encourage banks to take some responsibility as well for helping borrowers weather the lingering effects of the shutdown.

That call went out from five agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, particularly on behalf of individuals who may find they are struggling to make mortgage or student loan payments. In a joint statement, the officials let lenders know that bending a bit to accept prudent modifications would be in line with the "safe-and-sound lending practices" that they are expected to follow -- and would help not only consumers but the economy as a whole.

Source: Reuters.com, "U.S. regulators urge banks to work with borrowers during shutdown," Emily Stephenson, Oct. 9, 2013

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