Whether you call it compassionate or just good PR, banks and credit unions are giving furloughed employees a break.
Government workers affected by the shutdown now earn less, so it's harder to make ends meet. As a result, some financial institutions have rolled out programs geared towards furloughed employees. The most generous programs are loans with 0% interest rates and waivers of transaction-related account fees (such as ATM fees and late payment fees). Of course, you have to pay the loan back and they probably won't be as nice when if miss payments, but the gesture is nice.
Other banks are still charging interest, but it's easier for government workers to qualify for loans and some application fees might be waived. For a list of credit unions offering relief, see lissts from CUNA and NAFCU. Several bank programs are listed in a CNN article.
While these gestures are no doubt helpful, the situation is a nice reminder of the importance of having an emergency fund. The complication, of course, is that government employees have probably been told that their emergency funds don't need to be as beefy because they have "secure" jobs. Plus, nobody knows how long this will drag on.