Flathead loan offices see minor trouble during government shutdown

Loan officers are can't recommend rural development loans during the government shutdown. (NBC Montana Photo)

Across the nation, the government shutdown is affecting federal employees, but it is also affecting certain federal services like housing loans.

Most loan offices in the Flathead are feeling minor government shutdown effects, but one loan that borrowers can't get is the United States Department of Agriculture's rural development loan.

According to the USDA, only one percent of staff is working in the rural development agency as of Dec. 28. Their website said it could be even less now.

Flathead loan officer Janice Lake told NBC Montana they took steps to prepare for a possible government shutdown.

"We tried to get all of those loans closed prior to the shutdown, and now those new applications coming in house, we are saying they are a possibility, but we won’t be able to get those funded and recorded till the shutdown is over," said Lake.

Lake said their company sees about 2 to 5 percent of their borrowers use rural development loans.

"Typically, a very small percentage of overall loans that are given, but it is such a great loan for rural communities where people do sometimes struggle to come up with down payment funds," Lake said.

Lake said borrowers that were preapproved for a rural development loan are either waiting for the shutdown to end or they are looking for other loan options, but if the shutdown continues other issues could arise.

"We could see continued delays with getting tax transcripts in house, and those are often required on different loan programs and products," Lake told NBC Montana.

Lake said their biggest problem right now is actually the lack of houses on the market. It usually it picks up in the spring, so she is hoping the shutdown will be over by then.

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