Jerry Rabas, owner of Weber Travel in Willowbrook, said he has received calls from clients worried that a shutdown of the passport processing offices would affect their overseas travel plans.
Rabas was able to put his clients’ fears to rest after he received an email Tuesday morning assuring him that processing was proceeding as usual.
“That could have a disastrous affect,” Rabas said of a shutdown.
He said he was relieved to hear that his clients, at least for now, won’t be affected.
Roy Thygesen, president of Burr Ridge Bank and Trust, said anyone awaiting approval of a loan through the Small Business Association might see a delay.
“I don’t think anyone is panicking,” said Thygesen, who had not received any calls from worried customers. “We don’t think this is a long-term situation.”
Thygesen said small business loans account for less than 10 percent of his bank’s business. Those who already have SBA loans won’t be impacted, he said.
Nina Fotopoulos, vice president and manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Hinsdale, said most of the houses her brokerage sells are priced too high to qualify for government-backed mortgages, such as through the Federal Housing Administration.
Federal employees on furlough, however, could slow down the processing of loans because buyers must submit two years of income tax statements to qualify for all conventional mortgages, too.
“They want the transcripts directly from the IRS,” Fotopoulos said.
A person’s own copies will not suffice. If the Internal Revenue Service is short-staffed, the processing of transcripts could stall loans, she said.
Also, the partial shutdown of the government could affect people wanting to buy condominiums with a Federal Housing Administration loan.
Fotopoulos believes the FHA will continue to operate with “a skeleton staff.”
If a condominium for sale has not already been FHA-certified, there is recertification process the buyer can go through with the FHA. But fewer government employees working likely will mean a longer wait for recertification.
“Fortunately, (in this area), those are minimal things,” Fotopoulos said.
The largest federal employer in the area, Argonne National Laboratories, is open. A spokesman for the Department of Energy said all employees have been instructed to report to work as usual.
“A prolonged lapse in appropriations may require subsequent employee furloughs,” said Steven Thai, a department’s Loss of Appropriations Plan. For now, however, all operations are funded with appropriations already received.
One lesser known group affected by the shutdown is the thousands of Illinois residents with sight impairments and other limitations who rely on the Talking Books program, headquartered in Burr Ridge, to supply them with audible reading materials.
“They cannot download books,” said Rose Chenoweth, director of the Illinois Talking Books program.
While patrons still have access to the state’s collection, the larger federal collection, part of the Library of Congress, is shut down. Chenoweth said patrons who anticipated the government shutdown stocked up on titles before midnight.
“It slowed down the system,” Chenoweth said.
Talking Books also cannot conduct inter-library loans during the federal shutdown, Chenoweth said.
Despite the shutdown, Chenoweth said the entire Talking Books staff is reporting to work as usual.
“There is still a lot to do,” she said, even without assisting client with downloads.
Joan Smothers, who owns Smothers Realty Group, based in La Grange, said the federal government shutdown will affect real estate closings in two ways.
Lenders require verification from the Internal Revenue Service concerning the authenticity of a borrower’s tax return.
“The loan will not close without that verification, and the IRS is shutting down,” Smothers said. “This affects everybody.”
In addition, lenders require employment verification from a homebuyer several days before a closing is scheduled. If a buyer is on a government furlough, that closing will be delayed until the employee goes back to work, Smothers said.
While it’s uncertain how many federal employees would be affected as homebuyers ready to close on a purchase, those who are impacted could create a domino effect, delaying the transactions of other buyers, she said.
Smothers said the impact of the shutdown depends on how long it lasts. Buyers who submitted all their paperwork and had their tax returns verified with the IRS before Sept. 25 likely will close on time. There may be problems after that, she said.
This story was edited at 6:43 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1.