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Debt Ceiling Q&A Provides Needed Clarity for Credit Unions

Going into this weekend, credit unions are planning their next steps to limit the financial brunt of the nation’s debt ceiling situation on members and assist them during this unprecedented political period on Capitol Hill.

A worst-case scenario could impact credit union members who are government employees or those receiving federal entitlement monies. Continuity of member income into their accounts is important as credit unions consider different scenarios and prepare accordingly.

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have compiled a question-and-answer resource — U.S. Debt Ceiling & Credit Unions: Talking Points and Context — so your management teams can take some facts and scenarios into consideration, as well as communicate them with frontline staff (if needed) so they are prepared. It includes answers to:

  • What is the debt ceiling, and why does it matter?
  • What happens if the United States defaults on its debt? Will people receive their Social Security checks, food stamps, etc.?
  • Will federal payroll employees get paid?
  • If individuals don’t receive checks from federal programs and federal employees go unpaid, will they all receive back-payments later?
  • How will the financial markets respond to a debt ceiling breach?
  • How would a U.S. credit rating decrease impact credit unions?
  • Are member deposits safe with credit unions if the United States defaults on its debt?

You can also read the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Debt Ceiling Default Analysis for economic context.

The Leagues are monitoring whether the federal government will actually default on its debt and the potential ramifications for credit unions, as well as other short-term possibilities in Congress. The situation remains fluid, and legislative activity could change at a moment’s notice.

“While we don’t know what will transpire, we remain cautiously optimistic that lawmakers will come to a near-term or longer-term resolution on, or before, June 1,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the Leagues. “If Congress has not moved forward by the middle of next week, we will be discussing what this means for credit union regulators, local credit unions, and members — as well as any urgent questions credit union leaders across California and Nevada may have. We look forward to keeping credit union leaders immediately posted on what happens next.”

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