NAVAL BASE GUAM (April 26, 2022) – Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) was first established in 1904, when a group of naval officers and their spouses recognized the need for medical and pay assistance for the troops.
Today, NMCRS offers a variety of financial support for emergent needs to include assistance with basic living expenses, security deposits and first month’s rent, funeral expenses, emergency travel, car repair, Permanent Change of Station with Pets, Restriction of Movement, Temporary Lodging Assistance, disaster relief, and so much more, according to NMCRS Guam Director Karen Fahland.
Among its many programs and services, NMCRS provides a variety of different loans that are paid back through paycheck installments with zero percent interest.
“If you borrow $500, you pay back $500,” Fahland said. “Every loan is unique in that the repayment is tailored to the client’s budget. I don’t know of too many other places that have interest free loans and if they do it is most likely for a limited time.”
The Quick Assist Loan (QAL) is the most popular and is limited to active duty Sailors and Marines. An appointment is not required but applicants must apply in person. The process usually takes about 20 minutes. If eligible you may receive a QAL up to $500. To apply for a QAL you must:
Have enough time left on your contract to repay the interest-free loan
Have no unpaid or outstanding interest-free loans from the society
Have no disciplinary actions in the past six months (or pending) that impact your pay or rank
Living Overseas and Financial Curveballs
Fahland is no stranger to the challenges that come with military life. She began working with NMCRS in 1991 when her husband was serving in the Marine Corps.
“I was a volunteer while we were stationed at Camp Pendleton, fast forward to 2012 when we moved to Guam and I started volunteering again,” Fahland said. “I then worked my way (up) to becoming the Director for the Guam Office and the Area Trainer for Japan and Guam.”
She knows firsthand how moving can affect a military family. Moving overseas, in particular, can especially take a toll on a family’s financial situation as household goods may take some time to arrive.
“We can provide interest free loans for modest furniture and incidentals such us pots and pans, lamps, and bedding,” Fahland said.
Emergency travel can also incur heavy costs for families and NMCRS offers interest free loans for this, Fahland said.
“We set up the loan and the client goes home and packs for the flight,” Fahland said. “We can complete this type of assistance virtually as well. We have sent clients stateside on an emergency and we have never met them. Everything has been done on the phone and the best part is that the client does not incur any interest charges.”
NMCRS also provides financial counseling.
“(Financial counseling) is so important as life has a way of throwing us financial surprises when we least expect them,” Fahland said. “Many new clients have not had the benefit of learning about basic financial skills from family or school. This is an opportunity for them to get a good start on their finances from the very beginning of their Navy career.”
Volunteer Case Workers assist military members and their families to assess their financial needs, complete, and analyze personal budgets, develop spending plans, assist clients with accessing resources, interest free loans, grants and other Society resources.
“This is an opportunity for them to learn those financial life skills such as the deductible on their insurance, what is the annual percentage rate on a credit card, how to use a credit card, how to balance a checkbook or how to keep track of spending,” Fahland said.
Active Duty Fund Drive
NMCRS is a non-profit organization that exists solely on monetary donations. Each year the
Active Duty service members can contribute via cash or credit card allotment or lump sum by contacting their local command representative.
To contact NMCRS Guam, call (671) 564-1879 or (671) 339-6472. NMCRS may also be reached after hours at (671) 727-5559 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
NMCRS Guam is located at 37 Hibiscus Drive onboard NBG, across from McCool Elementary/Middle School.