Area bank offers to help teachers

By M. Robert Berg

With the DeKalb teacher strike entering its third week, a local bank is offering financial relief for teachers running out of cash.

The First of America Bank-North Central Illinois is giving teachers the opportunity to receive a special unsecured loan of $2,000 dollars or more, Berni Graham, Community Bank president said.

“We are concerned for the financial needs developing for teachers without income,” Graham said. “We thought this was a good way to support the community.”

The loan is being offered at a special interest rate and is unsecured, meaning the teacher will not have to put up any collateral, such as a house or car or similar item, Graham said.

“The 7.5 percent rate is special in that the normal rate for an unsecured loan is considerably above that, usually in the double digits,” Graham said.

The loans will not have to be paid back until the strike is over, and then the teacher can make payments over the course of 12 months, Graham said.

“Since the loan is probably not going to be for a large amount, we figured most people wouldn’t want to pay this off over a longer term,” she said. “But if they would like to pay it off over a longer period, we can make exceptions.”

Graham said the bank is not choosing sides in the strike negotiations between the Board of Education and the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association by offering the loan.

“Although we regret there is a labor dispute, we are not choosing sides,” she said. “We merely want to provide monetary resources necessary during the strike to teachers in need of financial assistance.”

If the strike ends soon, the offer will continue for a little while after. “We will extend the offer for awhile,” Graham said. “It will be a limited time, but it won’t end right when the strike ends.”

Any teacher interested in getting this loan only has to contact the bank at 758-7451 and ask for a customer service representative.