Thousands of federal employees in San Diego County brace for a 20 percent cut in pay

One local credit union is stepping up to help

SAN DIEGO - Thousands of San Diego County residents who work for the federal government are bracing for 20 percent cuts in their pay, if or when a sequester is implemented.

But some locals may be getting help from their credit union.

"First I thought, how am I gonna make next month's payment?  How am I gonna keep the family afloat?" said Dave Rodriguez, a federal employee.

Rodriguez has worked for the federal government for almost 17 years.  He has a wife and two children so the thought of losing 20 percent of his pay is troubling. 

"My children are involved in sports, heavily in sports and that requires a good chunk of change coming from the side pockets which you hope you have, but in times like these, you do with what you have," Rodriguez said.

Fortunately for Rodriguez, he's a member of San Diego-based Cabrillo Credit Union. 

Vice President of Marketing Toby Hayes said his company came up with the Sequestration Assistance Loan to help federal employees.

"It's a $2500 loan to supplement their smaller paychecks and it's all at zero-interest," Hayes said. 

The zero-interest applies if the loan is paid back by June 10, 2013. After that, it converts to a 2-year loan at 6 percent  interest. 

"We don't know how long this is gonna last, but we can definitely use it if needed," Rodriguez said.

For many in San Diego County, the potential economic impact of a sequester is daunting. 

"It's almost $5 billion and so that's a pretty significant chunk of an economy," said National University economics professor Kelly Cunningham.  Cunningham said the county has an annual $180 billion economy.

Rodriguez said the advice from the agency he works for is to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

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