A growing number of banks, including two with Minnesota operations, announced special loans and other help to people affected by the federal government shutdown.

Old National Bancorp, an Indiana-based firm that has recently expanded into Minnesota, on Friday said it would offer no-interest, 90-day loans of up to $1,500 to furloughed government employees and people who work for federal contractors.

The bank said it would also extend payment terms on consumer loans and mortgages and waive some fees to existing customers who are affected by the shutdown. Old National has 17 branches in Minnesota, mainly in suburbs of the Twin Cities with one in Mankato.

Sioux Falls, S.D.,-based Great Western Bancorp, which has branches in Bloomington and Marshall, said it would offer short-term, no-interest loans to existing customers who are not working because of the shutdown. Great Western also said it would lower or waive fees on a variety of loans and accounts for those clients.

Across the country, banks have set up hotlines to help furloughed government workers through financial matters. Many have waived consumer banking fees and a smaller number have set up special loans.

U.S. Bancorp, the Minneapolis firm that operates the nation's fifth-largest bank, last week announced it would provide loans of up to $6,000 at essentially no interest to government workers who have existing accounts, including credit card and mortgages, with it.

Of the approximately 800,000 people affected by the shutdown, 420,000 have been designated "essential" and are working without pay. They include air traffic controllers and federal law enforcement.

The other 380,000 have been ordered to stay home without pay.

Evan Ramstad • 612-673-4241