Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he plans to introduce legislation that will include American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) under the Expedited Funds Availability Act, or Regulation CC, that was enacted by Congress in 1987.
In 1987, former Congressman Fernand St. Germain of Rhode Island introduced H.R. 27, known as the Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987. This legislation was passed by the Congress and later signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Regulation CC was listed as Title VI under H.R. 27, which excluded American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands from the definitions of “State” and “United States.” Banks in these territories were deemed “Pacific Island banks,” and checks drawn on Pacific Island banks were thereafter called “Pacific Island checks.”
A crucial distinction between State banks and checks and Pacific Island banks and checks lies in the “hold time” permitted by Regulation CC. For example, banks can hold Pacific Island checks up to 21 days before releasing funds for access or use. Another distinction permits a delay in the return of Pacific Island checks that are overdrawn. However, State checks that are overdrawn must be returned “in an expeditious manner.”
“I plan to reintroduce this legislation as soon as possible when the Congress returns to session next month,” Faleomavaega said. “It is important that all banks in American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are able to treat local customers with the same services that are offered in the rest of the states and other territories.”
In 1995, Congressman Faleomavaega introduced H.R. 1800, a bill that would amend Regulation CC to include Guam and American Samoa. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, but no action was taken.
“Given ANZ’s 21-business day deposit policy, I feel that it is necessary that all banks in American Samoa and the other territories should be expected to offer the same level of services as do the banks in Hawaii or California. This will allow local customers to access their money much sooner rather than waiting for almost a whole month after a deposit. This is a serious burden to the consumer especially when they need access to funds to pay their bills.”
“I will work closely with Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters of the House Committee on Financial Services to ensure that American Samoa and the other territories are included in Regulation CC. I want to personally thank Fili Sagapolutele of Samoa News for bringing this issue to my attention. I will keep our people abreast on the progress of this legislation,” Faleomavaega concluded.