Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he is perplexed about why hundreds of thousands of furloughed government employees who aren't receiving paychecks aren't going to their bank and taking out a personal loan.
It turns out it's not that easy.
The prolonged shutdown is about to deal another financial blow to government employees who are set to miss their second paycheck on Friday. Although many of the nation's top banks do have relief measures in place, not many offer personal loans with special conditions for furloughed workers. Many don't offer small personal loans as a product at all.
"The 30 days of pay that people will be out — there's no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it, and we've seen a number of ads from the financial institutions doing that," Ross said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.
Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup have tried to get ahead of the issue and contact customers they identified as federal employees via mail, email and social media to tell them of their relief options. However, most of these assistance programs are on a case-by-case basis that requires the customer to initiate the conversation via a phone call to a dedicated number. Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo said if a customer takes advantage of any of these options the bank will not report it to the credit bureaus.
Here's what the big four U.S. banks are offering to furloughed employees: